Visiting Huawei's main headquarters in China harks back to the old days of mining towns, huge areas given over to a single occupation and the infrastructure to provide support.
Just like the communities that sprang up years ago to maintain the people involved in mining and processing whenever a rich supply was discovered, the enormous 1.3 sq km site is almost undistinguishable from a small town.
The site comprises offices, a warehouse, manufacturing plant, R&D department, datacentre, university, call centre and a variety of support buildings including canteens, staff quarters and a hotel.
A network of shuttle buses runs to the various parts of the campus, and an underground system is being built to make it even easier for employees to get from place to place. Even the highway approaching the site has a section of one lane dedicated to Huawei staff to help ease congestion at peak hours.
Around 3,000 employees live on the campus. As you might imagine, the staff quarters have their own shop, restaurants, bars and facilities including gym, pool, recreation areas and sports grounds, making them completely self-sufficient.
Although the town proper is only about half an hour away, and Hong Kong is just a two-hour drive, it must be a strangely isolating experience to live and work here, with the singular presence of the company overseeing everything.
Of course, Huawei is not the only company to build such a facility, and many of the world's largest IT companies have similar campuses around the world.
As consolidation continues in the IT market, and bigger brands grow through acquisition, IT is looking a lot like the new mining in some respects.
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