Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Arrives

For accelerating China’s 5G transformation

Ye Fei is dedicated to making the 5G revolution a reality. At ZTE, Fei was a key member on a team that built the world’s largest intelligent optical transmission network—a 17-month project completed in April. His expertise is enabling more people—and more things—to have uninterrupted network access at the highest possible speeds. 

Scaling next-gen networks, Fei says, “will completely change people’s way of living and working,” from telemedicine to driverless vehicles.

“In The Project Economy, we’re focused more on bringing maximum value to stakeholders,” he says, and 5G is an impetus for that transformation. During the pandemic, for example, 5G networks have been critical in enabling many people to work from home, communicate with stakeholders remotely, carry out projects—and deliver value. 

That impact will only deepen in the years to come, Fei says. “Creating products that meet customer needs requires not only a powerful R&D team and in-depth technical accumulation, but also efficient and orderly collaboration among multiple associated product teams and stakeholders.” Seeing the future unfold, Fei says, makes those challenges worthwhile.

Q&A: Ye Fei on seeing the big picture, winning together and not skimping on quality

What project has most influenced you personally?

Huoshenshan Hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it took only 10 days to build the emergency medical facility in Wuhan, China. It was a miracle to achieve that goal in a very short period of time. I’m deeply impressed that project management efficiency can save lives.

What’s your mantra for leading projects?

Fight together and win together.

What do you need to succeed in The Project Economy?

Too often project managers can get caught up in the implementation of specific day-to-day activities and ignore the delivery of value and the original purpose of the project. What matters most is recognizing the big picture.

What’s one way managing projects will have changed by 2030?

With the development of science and technology, 5G and even 6G networks, as well as AR and VR will become increasingly popular. And centralized management will transition to remote distributed management.

What famous or historic person would you want on your project team?

Businessman and author Philip Crosby. He famously said, “Quality is free,” and I strongly agree. When facing the pressure of progress, scope and cost, we easily ignore the quality. People like Crosby are able to stress the importance of process quality to all stakeholders and team members.