Most people only know Chinese telecoms giant Huawei because of its smartphones. The company last month overtook Apple to become the second-biggest smartphone maker globally and locally. It’s deserved. Huawei only started making Android smartphones in 2009; it now makes superb devices with luxurious materials, excellent screens and superb cameras. Huawei connects about a third of the world’s mobile users to the internet. In SA, it provides more than 50% of telecoms equipment and solutions. It provides about 70% of our population with a way to get online, according to its figures. Those handy cellular modems we plug into our laptops, or the clever MiFi hotspots that have replaced them, are made by Huawei. But the firm has always aspired to be smartphone royalty. The Huawei Ascend P7 was, at the time of its launch in 2013, the world’s slimmest smartphone, at 6.18mm. At its London launch, Carphone Warehouse founder and chair Sir Charles Dunstone described Huawei as "the most fantastic p...

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