Huawei‘s head of domestic sales Teng Hongfei was detained by authorities as part of a corruption investigation in the company’s home country of China, the world’s third largest smartphone vendor said Tuesday, as first reported by local media outlet Yicai. Mr. Teng is being suspected of taking bribes but no specifics of the criminal probe into the matter have been provided by the company. The development will likely lead to his departure from the Shenzhen-based tech giant which is expected to replace him in the coming months. In a statement sent to some media outlets, a Huawei representative said the vagueness of the company’s comments on the matter is a result of the ongoing state of the investigation that led to the detention of Mr. Teng. It’s currently unclear how long the probe will take, though Huawei’s executive is understood to be close to official charges.
As part of the same communication, Huawei said it has a “zero tolerance” policy in regards to corruption and is fully cooperating with state authorities investigating Mr. Teng’s suspected practices. As an Executive Vice President of Huawei’s consumer business group for Greater China, the detainee oversaw the strongest growth phase in the history of the 30-year-old firm and was in charge of its device sales when it became the largest handset maker in the Far Eastern country, the world’s largest smartphone market. While Huawei’s other two business groups have also been recording positive performance in recent times, the consumer electronics one is by far the most rapidly expanding division of the company, in part due to Mr. Teng’s leadership, most industry watchers agree.
Huawei has been taking on corruption in its ranks for several years now, with one of its most high-profile attempt at doing so being recorded in 2014 when it accused more than a hundred of its employees of such practices and successfully retrieved some of the money it believed was stolen from it as part of their activity. While Mr. Teng’s departure may be a short-term hit for the company, Huawei is likely to weather through the development more easily than Samsung is going through the imprisonment of its de facto leader Jay Y. Lee.