A top executive of the Chinese technology company Huawei is being investigated for corruption, Chinese media reported on Dec. 25.
Chinese business publication National Business Daily confirmed with the company that Teng Hongfei, vice president of the Huawei Consumer Business Group in the Greater China region, was suspected of bribery. “Local police forces have adopted enforcement measures,” a report on Dec. 26 said.
Huawei is one of China’s biggest tech companies, and in 2015, became the world’s third largest manufacturer of smartphones, according to Huawei’s website.
The Consumer Business Group division makes smartphones, personal computers, tablets, and other consumer tech products. Teng was in charge of sales in China, Macao, and Hong Kong.
Teng had already been missing from the office for a while, and high-level staff had already known about his investigation, according to an insider who first broke the news to Telworld, a Chinese publication covering the domestic tech industry.
In his early career, Teng worked at Nokia as a regional CEO. In 2012, he moved to Samsung, before settling at Huawei in 2014.
Rumors of corruption at Huawei have circulated in the press before. In 2014, Chinese business publication Caixin exposed that 116 employees had accepted or solicited bribes, mainly by demanding kickbacks from 69 retailers. One regional director received bribes of up to two million yuan (roughly $305,000). Huawei denied the allegations.
The insider cited in Telworld said different departments at Huawei have allowed corruption to fester, including in the research and development, procurement, and sales departments.
In 2012, a group of Chinese tech executives, including one from Huawei, were convicted of bribery in an Algerian court. International arrest warrants were issued after the court found that they bribed an executive at the state-owned Algérie Télécom to give their companies an edge.
Fang Xiao contributed to this report.