Chinese architects and netizens recently performed a collective facepalm after Huawei Technologies revealed the new design for its smartphone division headquarters near Shenzhen. Unlike tech giants like Apple, Google, and Alibaba, which gained attention with their futuristic buildings, Huawei decided that the best way to show how innovative they are is by copying 12th to 19th-century European architecture.
Huawei will now have the opportunity to boast its own Oxford, Heidelberg, Verona, Luxemburg, and many more – all for the price of RMB 10 billion (USD 1.5 billion). The new campus will be located in the southern of tech hub Shenzhen, on the scenic lake Longshan. The area will be divided into 12 clusters modeled after European cities. Employees and visitors, which we imagine will mostly consist of couples in search for romantic backdrops for wedding photos, will be transported around the area in trains resembling those in Switzerland. The grand opening of the campus is due in 2018.
Although some Chinese netizens supported the project, many have ridiculed the design as “shanzhai” or copycat architecture. The new campus has placed Huawei among unflattering company such as Wuhan university, which built a fake Great Wall of China, the city of Hangzhou with its fake Paris, and several parks boasting a fake Great Sphynx of Giza. Commentators have pointed out how ironic it is that a company that considers itself a leading tech innovator could be so unimaginative when it comes to designing the very building that represents it.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunication equipment manufacturer, has been working hard on overcoming consumer skepticism over the quality of its high-tech products such as phones. Right now, Huawei is planning to top the high-end smartphone market, where it is currently ranked 3rd after Apple and Samsung. Hopefully, the alleged architectural preferences of its president, Ren Zhengfei, will not damage Huawei’s image as a company destined to change the future of communications.
View the full gallery of Huawei’s European cities here.
(Top photo from Pixabay.)