Huawei started the 17th Huawei Global Analyst Summit on May 18, 2020 in Shenzhen, China. Huawei’s rotating chairman, Guo Ping, spoke on the theme of “Huawei: A Year and Beyond” to both look back on a very challenging year for the company and look ahead with a focus on accelerating growth. The US Entity List is a major setback for Huawei, but the firm is working hard with partners to move forward and keep on growing. It believes this growth will stem from technology innovation, and Huawei significantly accelerated its R&D efforts with a 30% growth in 2019, an impressive acceleration on an already massive $15 billion budget! The company also reacted by driving swift and ambitious changes in its technology development processes, including code refactoring, circuit board redesign, and changes in materials procurement. The Forrester analysts who attended the event observed that Huawei has:
- Unified the architecture and branding of its cloud portfolios. Huawei’s internal business units have taken diverse architectural approaches in their cloud journeys in the past, such as OpenStack-based solutions for telco clients, as well as Kubernetes-based products for enterprise customers with different brand names. During the event, Huawei announced the unified technical architecture and brand names of its cloud offerings for public cloud and private cloud markets. For public cloud, the brand name is Huawei Cloud, and for private cloud, it will be Huawei Cloud Stack. This welcome change will also ensure service compatibilities and functional integration between the public and private cloud offerings, which will effectively help their clients to simplify operations and accelerate innovation.
- Reinforced its AI technology stack. To scale across the enterprise, AI efforts need a clear enterprise strategy and an advanced technology stack. Huawei is trying to help with its AI tech stack. Based on the Atlas line of products (the AI chips and systems, also available on Huawei Cloud) and ModelArts (AI development platform), Huawei recently released ModelArts Pro, which aims to accelerate the development of industry-specific AI models. Business users can train their own models with low- or no-code tools, a critical step in AI enabling more applications with limited data science resources. Huawei also enriched its EI (Enterprise Intelligence) portfolio with Industrial Intelligent Twins, which combines industrial processes and AI technologies.
- Improved its enterprise collaboration platform. Huawei released its WeLink collaboration platform in late 2019 with a core focus on large organizations and functionalities including instant messaging, video meetings, live broadcasting, and document collaboration. These give Huawei the potential to better integrate with current meeting room solutions under higher service quality. During COVID-19, the platform helped serve more than 10,000 medical institutions for telemedicine and remote consultations, over 5,000 schools for online education, and more than 50 national and municipal units for epidemic prevention and control.
- Expanded its consumer and digital payment businesses. Huawei Pay serves as a key component of its consumer business strategy and ecosystem. In April, Huawei strategically partnered with China’s UnionPay to launch Huawei Card, which is a virtual and physical credit card. With a large base of Huawei smartphone users in China, Huawei Pay is now virtually a leading player, but success will hinge on the firm’s ability to provide better payment and consumer lending experiences than other digital players such as Alipay and Apple. For this, Huawei is taking the technology route. The firm has announced its next 10-year strategy scenario, based on a holistic, intelligent consumer life experience, which relies on AI-based chips, mobile devices, and cloud capabilities combined with 5G and internet-of-things technologies. The aim is to significantly accelerate data transmission, processing, and analysis between apps, APIs, and devices and provide a real-time, personalized mobile experience to consumers.
To maintain robust growth in the long run, Huawei must keep promoting open innovation globally and enhancing the customer-centric nature of its products and services. By increasing investments in R&D and designing greater value for customers across multiple industrial and consumer scenarios, we believe it is on the right track to navigate the current dynamic environment.