HUAWEI Technologies yesterday said it plans to invest US$81 million under a drive to boost the development of the digital economy in countries across Southeast Asia in the coming years.
James Wu, president of Huawei's Southeast Asia region, said that the investment commitment would empower developers and young IT talent to test their products at Huawei’s OpenLab centres.
The Chinese technology giant will officially open an OpenLab in Delhi in August.
The company also announced a collaboration with the Thai government after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSDTA) and the National Innovation Agency (NIA).
The initiative will support the process of research and development into digital innovation in Thailand. The MoU outlines a series of joint R&D objectives aimed at stimulating the country’s digital transformation process and bringing the country’s innovations to the global market.
Specific initiatives include developing deeper technological insights, fostering a startup-friendly ecosystem in Thailand, promoting public-private collaboration and cultivating talent through Huawei's OpenLab and Customer Solution Innovation and Integration Experience Centre (CSIC), facilitating communication between scientists, scholars, innovators, and other researchers, and conducting research into ICT basic theories.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said yesterday on the fourth Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day - held in Bangkok by Huawei Technologies and the Ministry of Science and Technology under the theme of “Innovate for a Digital Asia-Pacific” – that the government would like to see support from Huawei in three areas: strengthening the rural sector and the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and further developing the education sector.
“We thank Huawei for its commitment to support Thailand's digital economy transformation through its continued investments in Thailand across areas such as training the human resources of universities and establishing the OpenLab to allow Thais to test innovative business ideas before commercialisation,” Somkid said.
“This will lead to the development of the country as startup nation. The collaboration with Huawei will encourage Thais to realise the importance of digital technology to the development of the people and the country.”
He said Thailand is very active in innovation and technology and that this is the right time for Huawei to hold the Huawei Asia Pacific Innovation Day in Bangkok.
Thailand has 121 million mobile phone numbers, 41 million Internet users, and US$80 billion of e-commerce business value. Meanwhile, business sector has been actively investing in the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data, especially in the banking sector, Somkid said.
Moreover, the country's economy is turning a corner, with the likelihood of 4 per cent growth in gross domestic product for this year, he said.
Guo Ping, rotating chairman of Huawei Technologies, said that many economies in the Asia-Pacific region have set out on their digital transformation journey.
“The ecosystem is critical here. Governments need to take the lead, industries need to proactively do their part, and individuals need to work to improve their digital skills,” Guo said. “Huawei is ready and willing to work with Asia-Pacific countries to build this digital ecosystem.
“We have set up an OpenLab in Bangkok where we open up our knowledge and resources on ICT to our customers and partners. Since its opening in June 2017, Huawei's OpenLab in Bangkok has made substantial progress.”
In the future, the company hopes that the OpenLab in Bangkok will better serve local partners and play a greater role in enabling joint innovation across different sectors, Guo said.
The Bangkok centre was opened with investment of US$15 million. It is the seventh such centre to be opened worldwide by Huawei. The others are in Suzhou, Mexico, Munich, Singapore, Johannesburg and Dubai. OpenLab Bangkok covers 2,000 square metres at G Tower, home to Huawei Thailand's new headquarters.