Take a look around Huawei's headquarters in China

A rare look inside Chinese smartphone giant, Huawei's headquarters
A rare look inside Chinese smartphone giant, Huawei's headquarters

It's several minutes before noon on a Thursday afternoon at Huawei's headquarters.

Located in Shenzhen, the emerging tech city in the Guandong providence of China, the campus covers a massive area filled with trees, mid-sized buildings and lakes. In what could easily be confused for a large university campus, the setting quickly goes from serene to bustling as throngs of employees pour out of buildings and make their walk to some of the dozen or so cafeterias.

It's a typical lunchtime at the information and communication technology conglomerate, which counts nearly 60,000 employees at its headquarters and 180,000 employees globally.

CNBC was recently granted rare access to tour the campus.

Huawei is currently the world's third-largest smartphone maker behind Apple and Samsung. For several months in 2017, Huawei's smartphone sales even surpassed Apple, positioning it temporarily only behind Samsung. The Chinese tech giant has also become the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world.

Here's what CNBC observed during the visit:

  • Huawei has shuttle vans that transport employees throughout the campus.
  • There are a number of minimarts throughout.
  • There are approximately 12 large cafeterias in which many employees pay for food using their mobile phone (food is subsidized, but not free).
  • One of the lakes on the campus is home to three black swans. They're meant to symbolize non-complacency within the corporate culture — an effort to promote innovative thinking.
  • Huawei University is a separate large building that offers continuing education to its employees. The company says it has 25,000 courses.
  • After lunch, CNBC noticed a number of employees taking naps in chairs and sofa. In parts of China's corporate culture, an afternoon nap is considered acceptable.
  • Approximately 10 minutes from the campus by car, Huawei houses thousands of its employees whom live alone or with their families for subsidized rates. The amenities include fitness centers, restaurants, grocery stores and childcare. There is often a wait list to live in the company-subsidized housing.