Connectivity as key: Innovating without borders

  • Through OpenLab Huawei has over 100 partners in the region in 2023
  • Huawei ASEAN Academy plans to turn out 10,000 digital talent a year 

Jun Zhang, President oF Public Affairs And Communications At Huawei Asia PacificAs countries around the world reopen borders and reset versions of the “new normal”, Huawei looks to make its mark in the Asia Pacific region, especially with the acceleration of digitalisation post the COVID-19 pandemic era that shook the world. The pandemic had conveniently shifted gears globally, with going digital no longer a luxury but a necessity. A classic example of this is Southeast Asia’s digital consumer population growing steadily and reaching 370 million last year.  
According to Bain & Company’s findings, Southeast Asia is also becoming more competitive both in terms of export growth and as an investment destination. The region is also expected to experience an increase in digital consumption in the not-too-distant future.
As a tech giant, Huawei plans to pace itself between development and sustainable continuance to brace ourselves in the event of unforeseen challenges. We look to our present, focusing on opportunities and leveraging our global cutting-edge technologies and industry expertise, in expectance of the predicted growth in the APAC region.
New Hub: Fulfilling Growth and Demand
 The recent launching of the OpenLab 3.0 in Singapore is one step in that direction. First launched in 2016, the Singapore Huawei OpenLab offers customer-focused open platform solutions with collaborations from Huawei partners which has reached over 100 in 2023. Now upgraded to OpenLab 3.0, this will enable Huawei to better collaborate with local partners to create customer-centric and innovative scenario-based solutions that truly meet regional needs. Leveraging its considerable capabilities in wireless and optical networks, storage, cloud and AI, Huawei has developed a range of integrated solutions like the Smart Campus, Smart Classroom, and Smart City. The Open Lab 3.0 will allow for solutions to be better tailored to meet needs through joint innovation
The previous OpenLabs looked at tomorrow from today's perspective. The OpenLab 3.0 is about collaborating with our partners to look at tomorrow from the day after tomorrow's perspective and explore more possibilities in the future through our comprehensive innovative R&D capabilities and investments. We will be able to incubate and enable more future-oriented local applications and innovative solutions, while promoting them to the entire Asia-Pacific region to support digital transformation of various industries.
In Malaysia, we have the ICT Academy Labs in Universiti Malaya and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), as well as the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Labs in Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
The ICT Academy Labs will train students in a real-world environment using Huawei’s smart classroom solutions as well as support the universities’ programmes by utilising Huawei’s cutting-edge digital infrastructure and security solutions, as well as smart classroom and virtual desktop infrastructure. The Labs will also serve to inspire innovation as it will serve as a test board for ideas as well as industry and university collaborative projects and as a hotspot for research and development. In addition to these, the Labs will also be the venue for explorative efforts in creating ICT infrastructure solutions via workshops, technical discussions, sharing and exchanges where Huawei's renowned global technological and technical expertise can be utilised. It will be a bridge between academia and industry, solving the mismatch between what the industry needs and the graduates are produced. The Labs will also look into the provision of training by the Huawei ICT Academy that will focus on the training of trainers and students that comes with internationally recognised Huawei certification.
The National AI Labs are a collaborative effort involving UTHM, UTM, Huawei and Telekom Malaysia that seeks to develop digital talents in Malaysian universities.
Blueprint for the Future
 The digital economy worldwide was worth US$11.5 trillion (RM51.28 trillion), or 15.5% of the global GDP in 2016. This outstanding performance is mainly attributable to the development of a consumer-driven Internet. The industrial Internet is predicted to experience massive growth by 2025, with industries across the board seeing high levels of digitalisation and intelligence. By then, we expect the digital economy to grow further, to 24.3% of the global GDP.
We have found that the long-term return on investment (ROI) for digital technologies is 6.7 times that of non-digital investments, and leveraging intelligent technologies to power traditional industries can maximise digital spillovers.
Huawei has also introduced PIPES, which stands for Platforms, Innovation, Professionalism, Experience and Skills which ties in well with the growth of digital talents. A Gallup study highlights the glaring skills gap – In Asia Pacific, over three-quarters (76%) of employers have job openings that require digital skills, while almost as many (72%) struggle to fill these positions. The demand for tech-savvy talent is not confined to the tech industry but extends to other sectors that are undergoing digital transformation.
By fostering a strong talent pipeline, Huawei is not only investing in our own future but also contributing to the digital prosperity of the entire region. In collaboration with universities, governments, and industry partners, we have established a dynamic ecosystem of virtual and physical platforms, empowering individuals and communities by connecting them to shared ideas and resources.
In Malaysia, we have the Huawei ASEAN Academy - a learning centre dedicated to equipping talents with digital skills – to bridge needs and the supply of talent. The ASEAN Academy plans to churn out 50,000 digital talents in Malaysia from 2021 to 2025, averaging 10,000 talents a year and we are already on target towards achieving this.
We also have the Huawei ICT Academies in Malaysia, with 33 academies set up in both public and private institutions of higher learning in Malaysia. The Huawei ICT Academy is an education-enterprise cooperation project that involves higher education institutions to help build a talent ecosystem. Huawei helps universities cultivate ICT talent that meet industry requirements, providing high-quality talent for industry development.
Huawei also believes in “connecting the unconnected” and one of the initiatives in Malaysia we are involved in is the Sarawak Multimedia Authority Rural Telecommunication (SMART) sites, with 600 sites expected to be completed by next year. This aims to provide rural residents equal access to participate in the digital economy.
We also launched our telecommunications network device named the Huawei RuralStar Pro in Malaysia that overcomes technical challenges and connects remote areas that lack access to good communication infrastructure. Huawei RuralStar Pro uses wireless technology that does not require a line-of-sight to connect to a nearby telecommunications transmitter tower, making it cost-effective and ideal for the rural landscape.  Huawei RuralStar Pro focuses on providing 4G LTE connections in rural areas, similar to those in the city.

As our Rotating Chair, Sabrina Meng mentioned, “I firmly believe, that as long as we keep working hard and never give up, all of our efforts will pay off. We may not succeed, but if we meet challenges head-on, we can fight our way out.” She also said our ability to survive and to do so sustainably is clear and that is the best interpretation of Huawei's solid financial position.


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