Huawei vows to help Asean’s digital economy power ahead

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Huawei rotating chairman Guo Ping speaks virtually at Powering Digital Thailand 2022: Huawei Cloud & Connect & Asia-Pacific Innovation Day on Wednesday. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Huawei will keep innovating and building a tech ecosystem to help the Asia -Pacific region go digital faster, its rotating chairman Guo Ping said.

Speaking virtually at Powering Digital Thailand 2022: Huawei Cloud & Connect & Asia-Pacific Innovation Day, Mr Guo expressed his appreciation to the company’s customers and partners for their support and discussed a range of topics including 5G, cloud and AI.

Before the pandemic, he said he attended previous Huawei events onsite in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, where he felt the people’s eagerness to develop the digital economy.

”The pandemic has changed the way we work and live. That’s why I am now attending online,” he said.

According to McKinsey, Covid-19 has caused digital transformation to accelerate by seven years globally and 10 years in Asia-Pacific.

”We believe that 5G, cloud, and AI will continuously contribute to economic growth and social progress. Post-pandemic, digital technology will surely become a pillar for economic recovery and resilience in many countries,” Mr Guo said.

The forum at which he was speaking will conclude on Friday. It was jointly organised by the Bangkok Post, Asean Foundation and Huawei at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld in Bangkok.

According to an Asian Development Bank forecast, Asean will be the world’s 4th-largest economy by 2030. The digital economy has huge potential in the region, Mr Guo added.

”As we know, Asean has released its Digital Masterplan 2025. One of the goals was to ‘increase the quality and coverage of fixed and mobile broadband infrastructure’. This plan aims to make the region a leading digital community,” he said.

Many countries have also released national digitalisation strategies. For example, Singapore released its Smart Nation 2025 blueprint. Indonesia and Malaysia released strategies to go digital, and Thailand announced its vision to become a digital hub in Asean, he noted.

”Thailand is progressing fast in ICT deployment, and its cross-sector development is reaching its prime. Notably, Thailand has delivered amazing results for 5G rollout. GSMA data shows that Thailand’s 5G is developing 1.5 times faster than 4G at the same stage. It also shows that Bangkok is among the world’s top 10 cities for 5G.

”We are fully confident in the post-pandemic economic recovery and digital economy growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Huawei will continue innovating and building a tech ecosystem to help the region go digital faster,” Mr Guo said.

First, Huawei uses 5G, cloud, and AI to help industries go digital. Alongside carriers and other partners, it is deploying 5G in the healthcare, ports, mining, manufacturing, and education sectors across the region.

“To fight the pandemic, we helped Thailand develop apps for 5G-powered remote diagnosis and e-ambulance,” Mr Guo said, adding the company also helped industries in the region rapidly transition to the cloud.

”We will continue investing in Southeast Asia and building more data centers. We will keep innovating our cloud and AI solutions to create steady value for local enterprises, especially SMEs,” he said.

Huawei is also committed to developing local digital ecosystems and helping digital communities prosper. The company has over 7,900 partners in the Asia-Pacific region, where it has launched a Spark program offering tech startups cloud resources and funds, and helping to cultivate talent.

”We plan to invest US$100 million [3.27 billion baht] over the next three years to help build a startup ecosystem in the region. Huawei and the the Digital Economy Promotion Agency of Thailand have built a 5G ecosystem innovation centre. This centre is expected to support hundreds of local SMEs and startups over the next three years,” Mr Guo said.

The Chinese tech giant also advocates digital inclusion and leaving no one behind.

“In Bangladesh, we launched the Digitruck project, providing more than 63,000 women with digital skills training,” Mr Guo said.

In the Philippines, the firm launched the Tech4All Program, protecting the environment with digital technologies. In Thailand, it has worked with the Ministry of Labor and the Association of the Disabled to help disabled people find jobs.

”We believe all countries in the Asia-Pacific region will succeed in their drive to go digital. We will extend our roots deeper and do our part during the region’s 10 golden years of digital transformation,” he said.

Lin Baifeng, president of Huawei Asia Pacific, said Asean is accelerating digital development and Huawei will contribute to innovation in the region.

Innovation has become a driving force for economic growth and social well-being globally. It enriches people’s life, improves business efficiency and increases a country’s competitiveness, Mr Baifeng said.

”The role of innovation has been highlighted more than ever during the pandemic. Although the pandemic has closed many doors, innovation opens a new window of hope,” he said.

As one of the most populous and diverse regions in the world, Asean is set to become a top five digital economy by 2025, he said.

Mr Baifeng also spoke about digital innovation for a connected and intelligent Asia-Pacific, saying Huawei will dive into digital infrastructure and continue to build a more connected region.

“In the Intelligent World 2030 report that we have just released, Huawei predicts that by 2030, global connections will reach 200 billion. As the foundation of this intelligent world, the ICT industry has played a vital role in promoting national economic growth and improving people’s life quality,” he said.

In Thailand, Huawei’s local team helped has build 20,000 5G stations in the past two years. The kingdom now has over 4.2 million 5G users, or 2.5 times that of other Asean countries.

Meanwhile, Bangkok has been ranked a “Global Top 10 5G City” by the Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA).

”We will also build the cloud foundation for an intelligent Asia-Pacific,” Mr Baifeng said.