Diana Marszalek 05 Nov 2020 // 9:26PM GMT
NEW YORK — Chinese tech giant Huawei, which has been trying to curtail international criticism as part of its push for global expansion, has hired Ruder Finn to handle a major portion of its US PR business, including corporate communications, PRovoke has learned.
Ruder Finn will be providing services including strategic counsel, media and influencer relations and thought leadership, according to the agency’s Nov. 2 FARA filing with the US Justice Department. The firm’s responsibilities also include issues management, crisis communications, developing and managing content strategy and data & analytics.
The business is worth roughly $1.45 million a year, the FARA filing shows. Racepoint Global handles Huawei’s consumer business in the US, while BCW subsidiary Pivot previously handled the corporate mandate.
Ruder Finn confirmed the partnership.
Hiring Ruder Finn is the latest in a series of PR moves by Huawei to win international favor, with the goal of gaining footholds in global markets. Huawei’s links to the Chinese government led to charges in the West that it could act as a proxy for Beijing. In the US, companies are banned from using Huawei equipment through 2021. In August, the Trump administration expanded restrictions, banning companies from selling chips made with US technology to Huawei without special permission.
In late 2018, Huawei hired BCW and Edelman for reputational work following an extensive review. Edelman, however, bowed out of the deal before it began. BCW’s predecessor, Burson-Marsteller, handled the company’s US corporate PR work before that.
Internally, Huawei's communications function suffered a major loss last weekend, when international communications VP Joe Kelly passed away at age 55.