“Asia Pacific is one of the most important markets for Huawei outside of China,” said Ken Hu, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman, at their 19th Global Analyst Summit. Economic development is unbalanced across the region, but nations have demonstrated great ambition for digitalisation. Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea have put forth “clear and forward-looking digital strategies”, he noted.

Huawei announced three key ways it is helping Asia Pacific digitalise. It also shared future innovation plans in sectors like connectivity, computing, cloud, and user devices. The Summit, held on 26 and 27 April, brought together industry and financial analysts, as well as key opinion leaders, to discuss future industry trends in the ICT sector.

Hu, along with Dr Zhou Hong, President of Huawei’s Institute of Strategic Research, gave their keynote addresses on the first day of the Summit. They shared how Huawei will drive the ICT industry to greater heights, push for digital transformation, usher in a greener world, and covered Huawei’s plans for growth in the Asia Pacific.

Steps forward in Asia Pacific

Huawei will focus on building up three areas to help Asia Pacific digitalise. The first is in the development of digital infrastructure like 5G and data centres, Hu told GovInsider in an exclusive media roundtable. For instance, Huawei is working closely with Thailand to develop 5G capabilities in its healthcare sector, wrote GovInsider.

“We are going to help these countries build more solid infrastructure, including wireless and fixed broadband networks and data centers,” Hu shared. “We are also investing heavily to help the governments, carriers, and businesses in this region make better use of the digital infrastructure that has already been built.”

The second area is decarbonisation. Huawei has been “actively promoting” ways to help ICT carriers cut emissions, shared Hu. For example, their compact 5G infrastructure can improve energy efficiency from 60 to 97 per cent, according to its recent Annual Report. This will be crucial for Asia Pacific’s low-carbon development.

Finally, Huawei plans to train up a “skilled ICT workforce” to support the region’s digitalisation. Over the next five years, the tech giant plans to train 500,000 ICT professionals in the region through the Huawei ASEAN Academy and Seeds of the Future programme.

Additionally, Huawei is empowering ICT startups through the Spark Programme. In the next three years, they intend to invest US$100 million into this program to foster a “dynamic, healthy ecosystem for these startups”, Hu revealed.

“We have established strong bonds and commercial ties with governments and carriers in most Asia Pacific countries,” he noted. “Moving forward, we will continue to honour our commitments in the Asia Pacific region and provide support as it pursues digital transformation.”

Innovating to advance the telecommunications industry

“Everything we imagine today is too little for tomorrow,” said Zhou. It is this boldness and vision that spurs Huawei’s to “reinvent software”. To do so, Huawei is making “intensive investments” in research and development, shared Hu.

In 2021, the telco invested a whopping CNY142.7 billion (US$22.4 billion) on R&D expenditure, 22.4 per cent of its total revenue. This saw them taking big strides in the areas of connectivity, computing, cloud services, and personal devices.

To enable cutting-edge tech such as VR, AR and holographic communication, network connectivity needs to be able to handle larger amounts of data more quickly. Huawei wants to improve current network speed by tenfold by moving beyond 5G technology, and into 5.5G.

Huawei is also on a mission to meet the growing demand for greater computing power. They are exploring ways to restructure current networks and reengineer software to improve efficiency and boost performance. “We want to turn data centres as a computer into a reality,” said Hu.

In the cloud, Huawei seeks to speed up the creation of digital content. Their cloud-based content production platform, MetaStudio, will allow creators to work together from anywhere in the world and create content more quickly, Hu shared.

Finally, Huawei is looking into AI-enabled consumer devices to better connect the physical and digital worlds. For example, wearable devices will be able to monitor the wearer’s blood pressure levels, which AI can then analyse to provide health advice.

Spurring digital transformation in the economy

Huawei is helping industries go digital by making it easier for organisations to adopt new technologies and providing advice. “We’re adapting our products to better meet the requirements of different industries,” said Hu.

The tech giant set up cross-departmental teams, which it terms ‘army groups’, to help industries like coal, transport, and maritime adopt cutting edge tech.

For instance, Huawei helped mines to adopt 5G technology by adapting the infrastructure of base stations so that they would not be an explosion risk underground. “We have helped over 200 coal mines install over 3,000 pieces of 5G equipment,” shared Hu.

“Different companies are at different levels of technical developments and they face different scenarios,” Hu said. To help them, Huawei is creating products that organisations can easily adopt without extensive technical know-how.

For example, Huawei provides different types of cloud services depending on an organisation’s needs. An organisation with more sensitive services like healthcare, for instance, may use a local cloud instead of a public one.

Huawei also has dedicated consulting teams to guide organisations who are not familiar with the cloud on cloud migration, added Hu.

Decarbonising industries with digital power

Huawei is pushing for a greener future through digital technology as well.

The tech giant is using cloud and AI to improve energy efficiency and reduce solar energy adoption, while improving power yields, shared Hu.

For example, Huawei provided a solar power station in China’s Qinghai Province with smart inverters and AI programmes, according to its website. This helped the station improve energy yield by more than two per cent and efficiency by over 50 per cent, Hu said.

Meanwhile, Huawei is reducing power consumption in the ICT industry by using AI to improve energy efficiency and adopting a greater proportion of renewable energy.

The road ahead: Huawei’s plans for the future

“How can we create a viable path forward when ICT technology has seen little, if any, breakthrough over the past few decades?” Zhou questioned. “We must come up with bold hypotheses and visions and push the limits of theories and technology to make a leap.”

Moving forward, Huawei is looking to tackle broad tech and scientific conundrums. One of which is how AI can assist the healthcare industry in providing real-time, remote, and unobtrusive monitoring of patients. Another potential area of innovation is to extend virtual reality applications to the senses of touch, smell and taste, Zhou shared.

The telco will work alongside academia and industry partners to address these conundrums through an upcoming virtual platform. This platform will bring together “the most pressing challenges in the industry and invite the best minds around the world to take a crack at these challenges together,” Zhou said.

Change starts with bold visions and imaginations before they become reality, shared Hu. This is the journey that Huawei is currently taking, one step at a time.

Images by Huawei.