He has been following Ren Zhengfei for more than 30 years. He has saved Huawei many times, but he has great achievements and fame


Picture: the Internet, the image worm creativity
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Wen / Yan Yan
Source: Chinese business hall of Fame (ID: hstl8888)
There is always a thin path between no one knows and no one knows. However, few people can stand to stay on this path, not to mention the once young genius, how can he be willing to be lonely.
1. Looking for Zheng Baoyong
In the online search for “Zheng Baoyong”, the most common content is his “Huawei 0002 employee”:
He was one of Huawei’s earliest employees and the earliest chief engineer. He was praised by Ren Zhengfei as “a top 10000 talent” and “only one talent in 1000 years”.
He played a key role in Huawei’s early development. Classic achievements include: as the chief engineer, he led Huawei to develop and launch switch products that lay a solid foundation in the industry. The products have been sold to more than 50 countries around the world, served hundreds of millions of users, created huge commercial value, and enabled Huawei to survive in the fierce competition.
He also played a key role in Huawei’s transformation. Core contributions include: in 2003, he turned the tide and prevented Huawei from giving up its mobile terminal business, including mobile phones. In 2019, the sales volume of mobile terminal business is 476.3 billion yuan, accounting for 54.4% of Huawei’s total business, which makes Huawei stand out in the fierce competition.
Today, although Zheng Baoyong is still Huawei’s chief scientist and senior vice president, he is no longer at the core of Huawei, or even on the board of directors and supervisors. There are very few dynamic news about him on the Internet, and they all come from outside Huawei. For example, the news about him being employed as a variety of consultants:
In August 2020, he was employed as the science and technology consultant of Yongchuan District, Chongqing; in August 2020, he made a special report in Chongqing Intelligent Engineering Vocational College; in July 2020, he was employed as the general consultant of “six new” development in Datong City, Shanxi Province; in December 2017, he was employed as the economic development consultant of Fuzhou City
Moreover, Zheng Baoyong is quite young, but he is 56 years old, 20 years younger than Ren Zhengfei, who is still in charge, and the same age as Liang Hua, the current chairman of Huawei.
What makes him still in Huawei but no longer prominent?
2. Start a new century
In 1993, most of Huawei’s employees still lived in the houses of farmers near the company, and the conditions were very difficult.
At that time, most of the talents in Huawei’s high-rise dormitories were the only ones living there. Zheng Baoyong not only lives there, but also is the “only two” resident on the top floor of the building – another is Ren Zhengfei’s family whose job number is 0001.
Zheng Baoyong, who was just 29 years old at that time, was at the top of the power of Huawei, which had more than 300 employees. It can be said that “under one person, over 100 people”. The reason is also very simple. He is the core technology backbone of Huawei. The switch products developed under his leadership sold 100 million yuan in 1992 alone.
At the end of the 1980s, the popularity of telephone in Chinese enterprises and families made the switch market have great potential, and it was this market that Huawei and Ren Zhengfei were interested in.
Zheng Baoyong entered Huawei in 1989. Under the guidance of his technology, Huawei soon launched hjd48 small analog air separation PBX. After the completion of the project, Zheng Baoyong became Huawei’s deputy general manager and first chief engineer, responsible for Huawei’s product strategic planning and new product development.
As for Zheng Baoyong’s responsibilities at that time, a saying spread inside Huawei is as follows: “as long as the products are not produced or delivered, Zheng Baoyong is responsible for all the products that have not been made.”
In fact, before joining Huawei, Zheng Baoyong already had a life of “opening and hanging up”. Born in Changle, Fujian Province in 1964, he was admitted to Huazhong University of Technology (now Huazhong University of science and Technology) to study optical physics at the age of 16, graduated from Huazhong University of science and technology at the age of 20, and continued to study for master’s degree at Huazhong University of science and technology at the age of 23. Zheng Bao, a 25-year-old graduate student from Tsinghua University, took the exam.
One day when he was a doctor, Zheng Baoyong heard the most important knock on the door in his life. It was Ren Zhengfei who knocked on the door.
Many years later, in a chicken soup magazine, an article entitled “standing in the low place to win people’s hearts” once described this meeting as follows:
In 1989, Zheng Baoyong was studying for a doctoral degree in Tsinghua University. His graduation thesis has been written and he is waiting for the next defense. One day, someone knocked on the door of Zheng Baoyong’s dormitory. Zheng Baoyong went out to have a look. The other party hugged him: “Baoyong, don’t you know me?” Zheng Baoyong recognized Ren Zhengfei.
Ren Zhengfei comes to the point: “Baoyong, you must help me this time.” Zheng Baoyong was startled: “Lao Ren, what’s the matter with you?” Ren Zhengfei drank water and said, “my Huawei Company has only been founded for two years. Now it’s very difficult. The main reason is the lack of high-tech talents. No, the first thing I think of is you.”
Zheng Baoyong was very embarrassed: “I still have half a year to graduate. I can’t go now. “Ren Zhengfei said with admiration,” you are a computer student. Now you are very popular. Unfortunately, I know nothing about communication technology.
In the company, although I’m the boss, I don’t know the technology. I’m always a dwarf. If you go, one person can make ten thousand. “Ren Zhengfei’s” flattery “made Zheng Baoyong waver, but he did not immediately agree to Ren Zhengfei’s invitation.
Ren Zhengfei did not leave immediately. In the next few days, they ate and lived together. After a few days, Zheng Bao decided to give up his doctoral study in Tsinghua University and join Huawei.
Zheng Bao’s decision surprised his classmates. Someone asked him, “how can Ren Zhengfei make you give up your PhD and join his small company?” Zheng Baoyong said, “it’s low-key and sincere. Lao Ren does not regard himself as the boss. He put down his body and stood in the low position, so naturally he pulled me into the water. ”

It was no accident that Ren Zhengfei found Zheng Baoyong. Guo Ping, a headhunter who introduced Zheng Baoyong to Ren Zhengfei, was Zheng Baoyong’s classmate at Huazhong University of science and technology. He joined Huawei a little earlier than Zheng Baoyong. He is now a member of Huawei’s board of directors and vice chairman.
Zheng Baoyong, who has become a great success through technology research and development, is not the kind of scientific and technological worker who will only work hard in the laboratory in people’s traditional impression, but will play games and “not strive for progress” if he is not careful.
For example, he likes playing poker in his spare time, and even reformed the “upgrade” rule, which is known as the “upgrade” of “Huawei standard”. As he lives next door to Ren Zhengfei, his hobby is often discovered by Ren Zhengfei, who comes to him at night to talk about his work. With more times, Ren Zhengfei will have a lot of opinions in his heart, but basically, it is verbal criticism. Most of the time, Ren Zhengfei is praising and even flattering Zheng Bao
“A Bao (Zheng Baoyong) is a genius who came out only in 1000 years. We need thousands of them. ”
In this way, Zheng Baoyong continued to “combine work with rest” and was “spoiled” smoothly. Until one day, a young man named Li Yinan walked into Huawei’s R & D office.
3. Here comes Li Yinan
Li Yinan, 6 years younger than Zheng Baoyong, also graduated from the Department of optical physics of Huazhong University of science and technology. Strictly speaking, Zheng Baoyong is not only Li Yinan’s brother, but also his teacher. From 1987 to 1989, when Zheng Baoyong stayed in Huazhong University of science and technology to teach, Li Yinan was still studying there.
Besides Li Yinan, Zheng Baoyong and Guo Ping mentioned above, the CFO Meng Wanzhou, vice chairman Hu houkun and director Peng Zhongyang of Huawei’s board of directors all graduated from Huazhong University of science and technology.
Li Yinan, who was born in Hunan Province, is a child prodigy more divine than Zheng Baoyong
At the age of 15, he was admitted to the junior class of Huazhong University of science and technology. At the age of 22, he entered Huawei as an intern. In June 1993, Li Yinan graduated from graduate school and formally joined Huawei. The next day, he was promoted to Huawei engineer. Seven days later, he was promoted to chief engineer to assist Zheng Baoyong in developing C & C08.
At that time, Zheng Baoyong did not realize that Li Yinan would become his future competitor, at least not so soon.
In 1993, Huawei faced double competition from domestic and foreign enterprises
Abroad, there are “seven countries and eight systems”, namely NEC and Fujitsu of Japan, Lucent of America, Nortel of Canada, Ericsson of Sweden, Siemens of Germany, bell of Belgium and Alcatel of France.
In China, there is “Great China”. In addition to Huawei, Julong, Datang and ZTE, which have been established successively, aim at the rural market and try to take the lead in breaking the monopoly of foreign brands in rural areas through low prices, so as to occupy the market.
In this context, C & C08 has become Huawei’s product. It is said that C & C in the name of C & C08 is the abbreviation of country & City, which secretly expresses the strategy of “encircling the city from the countryside” of Huawei people at that time.
At first, Zheng Baoyong regarded Li Yinan as his successor in science and technology, and even helped him solve many practical difficulties. By the end of 1994, before the successful R & D of C & C08, the two experienced less than two years of “honeymoon”. The R & D team of C & C08 could be called Huawei’s “Huangpu Military Academy”. Zheng Baoyong and Li Yinan, two young talents, worked together to boost Huawei’s original take-off.
In 1994, the development of C & c080000 portal project entered the joint debugging stage. At the same time, the US World Cup started. Most of Huawei’s R & D personnel were fans. They basically engaged in R & D during the day, watched the game at night, slept until the next day, and got up at noon before continuing to work.
“I’ve never seen so many football shows before,” Li recalled
Li Yinan is not a football fan, but he met Romario and Alberto that summer, remembered the sad back of Roberto Baggio after the penalty kick, and remembered the picture of Brazil finally winning the world cup.
But he probably didn’t know that under the aura of Romario, the “lone wolf” of the Brazil team at that time, a Brazilian player with bad front teeth who also went out with the team didn’t get a minute’s chance to play. This player will shock the world football world in the near future. His name is Ronaldo, and later he has a nickname “alien”.
In 1994, the relationship between Li Yinan and Zheng Baoyong was just like that between Ronaldo and Romario, one jade in Pu, one in the limelight. With the completion of the C & C08 project and the legendary sales performance, Zheng Baoyong’s position in Huawei has reached the peak. As the founder president of Huawei’s central research department, he has almost reached the top of his word, and even has occasional friction with Ren Zhengfei
In this period, we do not know what happened between Ren Zhengfei and Zheng Baoyong, but it is said that Ren Zhengfei later said: “we should respect and use talents, but we must not rely on them and indulge them.”
Li Yinan, on the other hand, has made great progress. He took over Zheng Baoyong as the second president of the central research department, and Zheng Baoyong was promoted to a higher department as the president of the strategic planning department. Nominally, the strategic planning department is responsible for planning the product development strategy of the whole company and guiding the work of the central research and development department, but in fact, Li Yinan doesn’t pay attention to the strategic planning department at all.
Gradually, the contradiction between Zheng and Li became public. In order to establish authority in the R & D department, Li Yinan and Zheng Baoyong began a tit for tat struggle. Whatever Zheng Bao supports, Li Yinan will oppose. This is true in terms of technical solutions and personnel. It is said that the two people often fight red in the face at various meetings.
Li Yinan is ruthless to those who are close to Zheng Baoyong. At that time, when we held the technical seminar, we all spoke with great care. On one hand, we were the senior members of the company, on the other hand, we were the upstarts of the company. No one could offend us. In this way, Li Yinan quickly established his authority in the central research department.
For some time, Ren Zhengfei said at a meeting of high-level cadres of the Ministry of research and development of the CPC: “Zheng Baoyong and Li Yinan, one is bill, the other is gates. Only when two people work together is Huawei’s Bill Gates. ”

Ren Zhengfei was optimistic about Li Yinan during his internship in Huawei, calling him “red boy”. Now “Bao” is fighting “red boy” to death.
Later, the contradiction between Li Yinan and Zheng Baoyong intensified, even to the point that who went and who stayed. At the critical moment, Ren Zhengfei chose Zheng Baoyong.
In 2000, before Li Yinan left Huawei, he had dinner with a colleague. According to the colleague’s recollection, Li Yinan said: “when I was young and full of vigor, I didn’t know what to do. I had a fight with a Bao. Now I think about it, I really shouldn’t.”.
Ren Zhengfei once said: “because I didn’t manage Zheng Baoyong and Li Yinan well at that time, they were in conflict and were responsible as the leader in charge.”
4. Second “rescue”
Later, the story of Li Yinan was well known. In December 2000, Li Yinan, who has been regarded as Ren Zhengfei’s successor by the outside world, suddenly left Shenzhen and went to Beijing to set up harbor network, becoming Huawei’s biggest competitor.
Around 2004, Huawei set up “Dagang office” to compete fiercely with Li Yinan’s harbor network. In September 2006, Li Yinan returned to Huawei as vice president and chief Telecom scientist. At the end of December, he became Vice President of Huawei terminal company. On October 6, 2008, Li Yinan left Huawei again to join Baidu as CTO.
Later, after a series of unsuccessful entrepreneurial projects, in June 2015, Li Yinan was suddenly arrested and jailed for “suspected insider trading”.
One year after Li Yinan defected and set up the “harbor”, Zheng Baoyong fainted at work. Later, he found out his brain tumor. Since then, he has been concentrating on recuperation. Although he has gradually recovered, he has lost the vitality of that year. Although it is said on the Internet that he officially returned to Huawei in the new year of 2013, there is no more legend worth writing.
Zheng Baoyong and Li Yinan, from the appearance, look like a Bao, the straightforward but profound panda in Kung Fu Panda, and a rebellious little Nezha with black eyes and belly. Although they have different personalities, they are both unimaginable and inexperienced young heroes.
I wonder if Zheng Baoyong will think of his childhood when he sees Li Yinan’s tossing back
There are five brothers in the family. They live on their father’s meager income as a cook in the village health station. When he was in middle school, every two weeks, little Zheng Baoyong had to go home to get sweet potato rice as food ration. It was 13 kilometers from school to his home, and it took him two hours to walk on foot. However, under such difficult conditions, Zheng Baoyong never gave up his vision of distance and science.
Zheng Baoyong once recalled that he chose Optoelectronic Physics as his major when he went to university because he saw a film called “dead light on coral island” before the college entrance examination. It was a domestic science fiction film produced in 1980, about a patriotic scientist’s invention of “high-efficiency atomic energy battery”, which attracted the covet of the world’s commercial consortia. It talked about the magical laser, which stimulated Zheng Baoyong’s yearning for science. That is to say, since then, he has embarked on the road of science and joined national enterprises to witness the growth of Huawei.
Film “dead light on coral island”
There is always a thin path between the unknown and the unknown. Few people can stand to stay on this path, let alone Zheng Baoyong, a young genius. But after entering the 21st century, Zheng Baoyong chose to walk alone on that path in an unknown way.
However, we can still find his occasional “lone savior” news.
In 2003, after Zheng Baoyong came back from the United States to see a doctor, he began to serve as the head of Huawei’s “blue army”, that is, to provide strategic suggestions for Ren Zhengfei and Huawei’s management team by imitating and studying competitors. Although not on the front line, Zheng Baoyong, as the head of the blue army, kept Huawei’s later extremely important mobile terminal business in the way of “outspoken advice”.
Huawei started to make mobile phones in 2003, but in the first few years, it didn’t do well, and even its employees were not willing to use them. Ren Zhengfei regretted that Huawei should stick to the main channel of communication affairs and should not build mobile phones. He proposed that he did not want to do terminal business and simply sold it. Since then, Huawei and Bain and other private equity funds began to negotiate, and even the agreement to sell has been drawn up, ready to sell the terminal business.
At the critical moment, Zheng Baoyong, as Huawei’s “blue army chief”, stood up and blocked the deal. He took out a blue army Research Report and told Ren Zhengfei: “our research believes that the future telecom industry will be a trinity of client, pipeline and cloud. The terminal determines the demand. If we abandon the terminal, we will abandon Huawei’s future.”
It was this persistence that brought Huawei’s later “glory”.
By 2019, the sales volume of Huawei’s consumer business will be 476.3 billion yuan, an increase of 34% over the previous year, accounting for 54.4% of Huawei’s total business. Huawei (including glory) delivered more than 240 million smart phones, a year-on-year increase of more than 16%, including more than 6.9 million 5g mobile phones.
According to reports from market research institutions IDC and strategy analytics, Huawei (including glory) smartphone market share will reach 17.6% in 2019, ranking the top two in the world, and 5g mobile phone market share will be the first in the world.
However, on the other side where Huawei terminals are developing rapidly and are famous in the world, Zheng Baoyong, who has saved Huawei terminals, is becoming more and more secluded. In recent years, most of the public reports about him have been about participating in various investigations, lectures and being employed as an expert.
His focus in Huawei has also shifted to training technical personnel and providing advice for local government development.
According to public reports, in July this year, Zheng Baoyong was employed as the general consultant of Datong’s “six new” development and became a member of its “think tank” for transformation and development. Before that, in October 2019, Datong University and Huawei also jointly built the Huawei Institute of information and network technology to cultivate digital talents. Datong city hopes that Zheng Baoyong will cultivate this team into a “vanguard” to help Datong transform.

In August this year, as an honorary president, Zheng Baoyong came to Chongqing Intelligent Engineering Vocational College and Huawei (Yongchuan) joint technology innovation center to talk about his work and struggle experience in Huawei. At the same time, combined with Huawei’s enterprise development experience and culture, he put forward some thoughts and suggestions on how to promote the construction of technology innovation center.
At that time, the young and vigorous “a Bao” is now full of calm and independent.
This change is either a subjective choice or an objective one, but either way, he is still at Huawei and contributing to Huawei, which is gratifying for him, Huawei and Ren Zhengfei.
Zheng Baoyong fainted at work and was found to have a serious illness at a critical moment when Huawei had the chaos of Li Yinan’s harbor inside and Cisco’s patent and business war outside.
According to reports, Ren Zhengfei, who was also working hard day and night at that time, was thunderstruck by the news. After struggling to find the best hospital he could contact, he sent Zheng Baoyong overseas for treatment in tears.
reference material
1. Biography of Ren Zhengfei by sun like
2. “Create Huawei” Huamu
3. Huawei’s past: Liu Ping
4. Huawei annual report (2006-2019)
5. Civil servant’s essays on standing low and winning hearts
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)