She is an accountant, mother and chief financial officer at one of China’s biggest and most secretive groups — but above all she is her father’s daughter, born to Ren Zhengfei, the ex-army officer who founded Huawei. Mr Ren’s story is a classic rags-to-riches tale, according to Huawei’s narrative.
The son of teachers in a remote mountainous town, he joined the military’s engineering corps, rising to a role “equivalent to deputy regimental chief, but without military rank”.
When his unit was disbanded, Mr Ren retired and set up Huawei in 1987 with about $3,000. His daughter, by contrast, walked into Huawei in 1993, starting as a receptionist and proceeding to hold a series of ever more elevated roles. When she was arrested in Canada last Saturday, Ms Meng was also the company’s deputy chair.
Many see this as grooming Ms Meng for the ultimate role: to take over as chief executive from her 74-year-old father. Mr Ren has denied this, telling China Economic Times: “How can one person decide this? Since the day Huawei was founded, it was established on the principle of appointment by merit, not appointment by nepotism!”