Huawei unveils its cunning plan for surviving ‘a complex and volatile global environment’

At its latest annual global analyst summit, Chinese telecoms vendor Huawei revealed the strategic changes it’s putting in place to deal with the many novel challenges it faces.

The summit comes just two weeks after Huawei published its 2020 annual report, in which it revealed that it has done a good job of dealing with everything the US has thrown at it, but will do even better to emerge unscathed from this year. This event was designed to outline how Huawei intends to do just that and here’s Rotating Chairman Eric Xu presenting the five key strategic goals for his company this year.

“Rebuilding trust and restoring collaboration across the global semiconductor supply chain is crucial to bringing the industry back on track,” said Xu, “Moving forward, we will continue to find ourselves in a complex and volatile global environment. Resurgence of COVID-19 and geopolitical uncertainty will present ongoing challenges for every organisation, business, and country.

“We believe deeply in the power of digital technology to provide fresh solutions to the problems we all face. So we will keep innovating and driving digital transformation forward with our customers and partners to bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world.”

Direct reference to US sanctions was fleeting and there was none of the more combative language on the matter that has accompanied some previous Huawei public statements. The tone of this set of presentations was characterised more by a calm acceptance of the situation Huawei finds itself in and an attempt to make the best of the situation.

The first and last points above are an indirect reference to the component quandary Huawei finds itself in, largely as a result of US embargoes, but also due to the global semiconductor drought. There was a clear admission that Huawei needs to make itself less reliant on the kind of advanced chips it can only get from TSMC, which seemed to confirm it’s not just the smartphone division that’s suffering in that regard. Here are nine other R&D priorities for Huawei.

  • Defining 5.5G to support hundreds of billions of different kinds of connections
  • Developing nanoscale optics for an exponential increase in fibre capacity
  • Optimising network protocols to connect all things
  • Providing advanced computing power strong enough to support the intelligent world
  • Extracting knowledge from massive amounts of data to drive breakthroughs in industrial AI
  • Going beyond von Neumann architecture for 100x denser storage systems
  • Combining computing and sensing for a hyper-reality, multi-modal experience
  • Enabling people to more proactively manage their health through continuous self-monitoring of personal vital signs
  • Building an intelligent Internet of Energy for the generation, storage, and consumption of greener electricity

“In the decade to come, we can expect to see many great improvements in society,” said William Xu, Director of the Board and President of Huawei’s Institute of Strategic Research. “To promote these efforts, we hope to join forces with different industries, academia, research institutes, and application developers to address the universal challenges facing humanity. With a shared vision, we all have a role to play as we explore how to make connections stronger, computing faster, and energy greener. Together, let’s march ahead towards an Intelligent World in 2030.”

Again, all this talk of working together and global cooperation seems to be an indirect reference to the forces of Balkanisation catalysed by the US sanctions. Of course the technology world is better off with a fully open, collaborative international ecosystem, but the US didn’t act in a vacuum. Openness is a two-way street and Huawei should apply the same messaging to its own government.

Here’s footage of today’s larks for you to enjoy at your leisure.

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