By: Celia Chen
Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei – one of China’s leading businessmen, an ex-PLA officer and an elected member of the 12th NCCP
Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou has been detained by Canadian authorities at the request of the US government, a move that sparked a protest from the Chinese government.
But who is Sabrina Meng Wanzhou and why is this such a big deal?
Meng is the 46-year old CFO of Shenzhen-based Huawei, which is currently stuck in the middle of the trade and technology spat between the US and China. US president Donald Trump in August authorised a ban on the company’s hardware in US government networks, citing national security concerns – particularly in relation to the rollout of 5G networks.
Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecoms network equipment, has said that the concerns were unwarranted.
Perhaps more importantly than this though, Meng is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei – one of China’s leading businessmen, an ex-People’s Liberation Army officer and an elected member of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
In other words, Meng is part of China’s elite.
Her father Ren moves in the highest government circles in China and founded Huawei after he retired from the Chinese armed forces in 1983, when the government disbanded its engineering corps. Born into a rural family in a remote mountainous town in the southwestern province of Guizhou, Ren rose to the equivalent rank of a deputy regimental chief in the PLA, according to his official Huawei biography.
Meng’s arrest comes at a critical juncture in US-Chinese relations after US president Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping last weekend agreed to a temporary truce in their trade war to allow 90 days of negotiation.
Meng’s background and lineage had prompted widespread speculation that she was being groomed to take over the reins of the company eventually, despite assertions by 74-year old Ren that none of his family members would succeed him in the top job.