Like many top Chinese business leaders, Meng Wanzhou is little known even in her home country. She is the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, a huge telecommunications company. Meng had been widely expected to one day lead the company, which her father Ren Zhengfei created.

But Wednesday, Canadian officials announced they had arrested Meng at the request of American officials. Chinese officials have demanded her immediate release.

A person who knew about the incident told Reuters the arrest is linked to reported violations of American restrictions on Iran by Huawei.

Huawei said in a statement that it had been given little information “about the charges” against Meng. The company added that it was “not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng.”

Out of the public eye

The 74-year-old Ren founded the Chinese telecommunications company in 1988. Both he and 46-year-old Meng have led very private lives.

In a rare move last month, Ren let the French magazine Paris Match take pictures of his family. He was shown with his current wife, Yao Ling, and a younger daughter.

Huawei is a private company and describes itself as employee-owned. Although Ren owns only about 1.4 percent of the shares, employees say he has complete power within the company.

It employs more than 180,000 people and last year had revenue of about $93 billion. 

Started as secretary

Huawei’s website says Meng joined the company in 1993 and received a master’s degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 1998.

She has held several positions within the company. These include director of the international accounting department, chief financial officer of Huawei Hong Kong and president of the accounting management department, the website said.

In her first media appearance before the Chinese press in 2013, Meng said she had first joined the company as a secretary “whose job was just to take calls.”

Meng’s importance at Huawei became apparent in 2011, when she was first named as a member of the board of directors. Company insiders describe her as able and hardworking.

“The other family members are in (the) back office, Sabrina is CFO and sits on the board,” someone inside Huawei said. “So she is viewed as the boss’s most likely successor.”

Meng’s arrest raises questions about a 90-day truce on trade reached Saturday by the leaders of China and the United States.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


aware (v.) - to know that something is the case or exists


found (v.) - to begin, to create


revenue (n.) - money that is made or paid to a business or organization


management (n.) - the act or skill of controlling and making decisions about a business, department, sports team, etc.


view (v.) - to think about (someone or something) in a particular way


successor (n.) - a person who has a job, position, or title after someone else :someone who succeeds another person


Exercise 2 


Answer these questions about the article.


  1. Is Meng Wanzhou known in her country?
  2. Why was she arrested?
  3. What are the charges?



Exercise 3

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks with the correct word listed below.

found, revenue, view


  1. He has a lot of annual __________.
  2. This _____ is great!
  3. He was _____ guilty of robbery.


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

  1. Was she rightfully charged?
  2. Is Huawei competition to Apple?
  3. What kind of phone do you have?
  4. How often do you change your mobile phone?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.