Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of tech giant Huawei, apologized internally for registering a series of trademarks in the name of Huawei for his second daughter, Yao Siwei, admitting this has been a misuse of corporate power for personal purposes, 36Kr reported on Thursday.
Huawei applied for trademark registration of Yao Siwei stage names—Yao Anna or Annabel Yao—and other similar names for a wide range of categories such as jewelry, clothing, and machinery equipment.
“Some companies or individuals in the society have maliciously applied to register Annabel Yao trademarks, so we had to do this,” Huawei posted in a written statement on the company’s internal online community Xinsheng, according to media reports.
Based on China’s trademark law, citizens must use a company name or hold an individual business license to apply for trademarks. “However, Annabel Yao has just graduated and has not registered her own company,” the note continued.
Ren entrusted Huawei’s Intellectual Property Department to register these trademarks, which would be later transferred to Annabel Yao studio. The studio would cover the registration expenses, according to the statement.
“It is the first time for president Ren to use corporate power for personal purposes, and he apologized to all employees for this,” added the company.
Ren’s daughter announced via microblogging platform Weibo on January 14 her pursuit of an entertainment career after joining Chinese record label TH Entertainment. On January 15, Yao endorsed a new flagship SUV named Moka, developed by Great Wall Motor (GWM) premium brand Wey. She released her first song, “BackFire” just three days later, which was poorly received and drawn “criticism over lack of talent and privileged background,” according to state media CCTV.
Annabel Yao, who is 23, is Ren’s youngest daughter, from his second marriage. Ren’s older daughter, Meng Wanzhou, former Huawei CFO, continues under house arrest in Canada after she was detained in 2018 at the request of the United States for allegedly violating sanctions against Iran.