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Illustration of Sean Yang, president of Huawei Canada. (ANTHONY JENKINS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Illustration of Sean Yang, president of Huawei Canada. (ANTHONY JENKINS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

THE LUNCH

Huawei Canada’s Sean Yang: Dismissing suspicion over dim sum Add to ...

Mr. Yang, who is also vice-chairman of the Canada China Chamber of Commerce, answers with a sort of Chinese proverb. Lord Ye, Mr. Yang explains, was so fond of dragons that he decorated everything in his house, from the walls to the doors and windows, with dragon designs. One day, an actual dragon heard of Lord Ye’s obsession, and visited him – whereupon the man fled. Lord Ye in this tale is the Canadian government, with the dragon being Chinese investment. “This is a story [about how] he really wants it, but once the thing comes in front of you, you’re scared,” Mr. Yang says. Referring to Ottawa, he adds: “They didn’t have a clear strategy.”

Since that time of indecision, the Canadian government has firmed up its strategy with regard to state-owned companies. And Huawei, which is officially not state-owned despite the insinuations of U.S. lawmakers, continues to press ahead with expansion in Canada. Mr. Yang says he wants to open a facility in Waterloo, Ont., home to Research In Motion Ltd., a Canadian technology firm whose troubles over the past year have brought about less-flattering references to Nortel than Mr. Yang’s.

Lunch ends and we walk out to the parking lot. He asks me what I think of Waterloo, where I have had an office over the past year. I then ask what he thinks of BlackBerry maker RIM, which may be a future neighbour.

“We have our fingers crossed for them,” he says, as he climbs into a chauffeured black Cadillac Escalade.

CURRICULUM VITAE

EDUCATION

Attended Peking University from 1991 to 1996, where he earned a bachelor of science degree with a major in electronics and information systems.

CAREER

Started working for Huawei selling wireless networks in rural China. In his first decade with the company, he worked his way up through increasingly senior technical positions.

2006: Promoted to head of sales in the United States – a shift to the business side of the company.

2010: Appointed president of Huawei Canada.

HOBBIES

Likes to read, prefering books on history, politics and business.

Though his favourite sport is badminton, he says: “Once I can figure out the rules and how to follow the puck, hockey will be a close second.”

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