What you need to know about Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of a Chinese tech founder whose arrest could set fire to US-China relations
- Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was recently detained on suspicion of violating US trade sanctions, which the company has long been under investigation for by federal authorities.
- Meng serves as the chief financial officer and deputy chairwoman of the board at the Chinese tech company, and is also the daughter of Huawei's founder.
- Her arrest has sparked outrage from Chinese officials, who have demanded the US to release Meng or face "grave consequences."
- Here's a helpful primer on the Huawei executive and her career.
Chinese officials have threatened the US with "grave consequences" if the "extremely egregious" arrest of Meng Wanzhou, an executive at one of its biggest tech companies, isn't reversed. Wanzhou was detained, at the request of the US, on suspicion of violating Iran trade sanctions.
The potential implications of this arrest - which happened December 1 in Canada - on the tense trade war between the US and China has thrust popular Chinese smartphone company Huawei into the spotlight. But Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive at the center of the controversy, is still very much an unknown for most people.
Not only does Wanzhou occupy a top position at a multi-billion dollar company, she is also the daughter of Huawei's founder, Ren Zhengfei. The 46-year-old CFO and deputy chairwoman of the board has risen through the ranks of the company since she joined Huawei in 1993, even as her father has reportedly denied rumors that Meng would eventually take over as CEO of Huawei.
Here's what you need to know about Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou:
Born in China in 1972, Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei and his first wife, Meng Jun. She is one of Ren's two daughters — the second, Annabel Yao, came from Ren's second of three marriages.
Meng also goes by Cathy or Sabrina, and took on her mother's maiden name (Meng) at a young age. The 46-year-old, who holds a masters in accounting from China's Huazhong University, joined Huawei not long after graduating college.
Meng first started at Huawei in 1993 answering phones. Since then, she has worked her way up through the company's finance department to her current position as chief financial officer. Meng also serves as deputy chairwoman on Huawei's board of directors, replacing her father — who previously held the position — in March 2018.
Meng has four children and is married to Liu Xiaozong, a businessman who worked at Huawei for several years. The couple owns two homes in Vancouver, Canada, that have a combined value of more than $20 million. She's reportedly willing to take mortgages out on the properties to pay for her bail.
Meng reportedly suffers from a myriad of health issues that her lawyers argue could deteriorate while she's detained, according to court documents. The CFO is a thyroid cancer survivor who has hypertension, trouble sleeping, difficulty eating solid foods, and relies on daily drug treatments.
Meng's rise through the rankings of Huawei's leadership led many to speculate that Ren, the company's founder, was grooming his daughter to someday take the helm as CEO. However, Ren dashed any hopes of that in an internal email from 2013, where he wrote that "none of my family members possess these qualities," and they "will never be included in the sequence of successors."
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