“Asia Pacific region is a leading force around the world for digital economies,” says Nicholas Ma, President of Huawei APAC Enterprise Business Group. Nicholas was speaking at an exclusive interview with GovInsider, during the recent Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress 2022, held on 19 and 20 May in Singapore.

At the summit, public officials, industry players across the Asia Pacific (APAC) discussed the region’s digital transformation. Speaking with GovInsider, Nicholas shares his observations on the key trends surrounding digitalisation in APAC, and how Huawei is doing its part to fuel the region’s industrial digital transformation and digital economy.

Trends of digitalisation in the Asia Pacific

There are three broad trends of digitisation in APAC, Nicholas observes.

To start with, countries across the APAC are actively pursuing national digital transformation and implement their plans. Bangladesh, for example, is moving from being “digital” to being “smart” through innovation. Meanwhile, Thailand hopes to establish itself as the digital hub of Asia.

Singapore also announced its policy initiative that has guided its digital transformation to a smart nation for the past decade.

“Most of Asian countries are proactive in coming up with masterplans for the coming 10 to 20 years,” Nicholas points out.

Next, governments and industries across APAC are “moving towards digital and cloud” as part of their digital transformation ambitions. For instance, the Siam Commercial Bank is turning to big data to improve financial inclusion.

“Through the power of data and analytics, we will bring banking to the previously underserved and underbanked. Banking should be effortless, universal, and empathetic. Like a genie from a bottle, banking should just appear to serve you when you need it,” shared Dr Charlee Asavathiratham, the bank’s Chief Digital Banking Officer.

Another way countries are digitalising is by embedding 5G with other forms of technology to accelerate industrial digitalisation, such as in smart port applications, Nicholas says.

For instance, the Qingdao Autonomous Port in China is fully automated with the support of 5G technology. This has helped the port to reduce manpower by 85 per cent and improve operational efficiency by 30 per cent, wrote a Huawei whitepaper. Today, the port has the highest cargo handling efficiency globally.

The third trend is in the horizontal development of digital and smart infrastructure, says Nicholas. “Connection is fundamental for digitalisation,” he emphasises.

But there is a gap between the ambitions of each nation as compared to their current infrastructure and digital progress, Nicholas highlights. “Different countries have their own situation, so they’re facing different challenges.”

This is where Huawei hopes to level the digital playing field, by providing the software and hardware tools countries need to pursue digital transformation through connection.

Efficient ways Huawei is pushing for digital transformation

Huawei is helping countries in APAC connect and digitalise in such efficient ways.

First, they are building up digital and smart infrastructure in the region. They do so through their enterprise solutions such as smart data centres and digital power.

Huawei’s intelligent databases, for instance, is able to support massive amounts of data twenty four-seven. This helps healthcare institutions diagnose patients more precisely and allows energy providers to monitor the performance of remote power plants, according to Huawei.

Meanwhile, the organisation’s digital power solution uses smart inverters and AI to improve energy yield of renewable energy, wrote GovInsider.

Next, Huawei is speeding up the roll out of the HUAWEI CLOUD across the world, especially in APAC, Nicholas shares.

Finally, Huawei will be investing in ICT talents as they are the ones who make digital transformation happen, Nicholas says. Huawei is training the next generation of ICT talent through programmes like Seeds for the Future.

“As of now, we have already cultivated about 150,000 ICT talents around the Asia Pacific,” Nicholas explains. “For the coming five years, we have a big plan together with different countries and the ministries. We are trying to cultivate 500,000 more ICT talents in the APAC region in the coming five years.”

Digitalisation across industries

“Smart infrastructure is not enough,” Nicholas says. To fuel digital transformation, organisations also need to know what’s happening in the industry.

As a technology provider, Huawei does so by collaborating with industry players. They set up independent units internally, also called as ‘corps’ which dive deep into the relevant industry to create digital transformation solutions custom-tailored to those industries using its ICT strength.

At the moment, business units covering coal mining, customs and port, smart highway, data center energy, and smart photovoltaic, have been set up, according to the Global Times.

For instance, Huawei’s research into the transportation industry helped them create contactless toll payments. With this, cars can go pass a toll gate without needing to stop, Nicholas shares. Sensors will automatically deduct the toll amount when cars drive past. This can reduce traffic congestion on the roads.

Moving forward, the tech giant is looking to expand into more industries and develop more scenario-based solutions. The vision is to “to bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world”, Nicholas says.

The way forward: Green digitalisation

Beyond just digital transformation, Huawei is also on a mission to ensure this digitalisation is sustainable. Huawei first embarked on its green energy initiative a decade ago, says Nicholas. Today, the organisation has accumulated a wealth of tech knowledge that they are using to create green solutions for energy.

“When you want to make a green solution, you need to know all the details on how the energy is consumed, ” Nicholas explains. For instance, 5G equipment consumes much more power averagely than 4G.

Huawei tackles this through its digital power solutions, which use smart cooling and other fundamental technologies to reduce the power consumption of 5G equipment. This can help organisations save about 40 per cent of energy consumption, and reduce cost of network operation, Nicholas says.

In sustainability and across industries, the APAC region is making great strides in digital transformation – and Huawei is along for the ride with around 10,000 employees in the region. “In the next 5 to 10 years, we want to be the main contributor of the digital economy in Asia Pacific,” Nicholas concludes.