Chinese tech giant Huawei yesterday announced the launch of a cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) innovation lab in Singapore and pledged to commit "hundreds of millions" to investments in the Republic and the Asia-Pacific market in the coming years.
The main aim of the new lab, which will be available for everyone to use, is to promote the adoption of cloud and AI technologies in Singapore, said Mr Edward Deng, president of Huawei Cloud Global Market.
Mr Deng told reporters on the sidelines of the Huawei Cloud Summit 2019 that the open lab mechanism has been shown to be very effective in China, Hong Kong and Europe.
It is meant to serve developers, university students and companies, as well as provide a platform to launch projects for public benefit, he said.
Mr Deng cited several ways that Huawei's open lab mechanism would operate.
University students, for example, will be invited to join and develop whatever they wanted, he said.
For companies, the lab could showcase AI applications in specific sectors and gather industry players to work together. "For example, we may have one week for the medical industry, when we can invite hospitals to share their practices in AI," said Mr Deng.
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It is important for Singapore, which is a small and open economy, to work with all partners. And we are very pleased to invite all cloud service providers and important technology players from around the world to be part of our ecosystem.
MR TAN KIAT HOW, Infocomm Media Development chief executive, on welcoming industry players here.
He hopes to use the lab to roll out projects in environmental protection, disaster management and pollution prevention. "We have a lot of experience in China and we can share that in Singapore," he added.
Speaking at the summit, Infocomm Media Development (IMDA) chief executive Tan Kiat How said cloud services, higher-speed broadbands and next-generation networks are some of the crucial components for digital transformation here.
He said: "It is important for Singapore, which is a small and open economy, to work with all partners. And we are very pleased to invite all cloud service providers and important technology players from around the world to be part of our ecosystem."
Referring to Huawei's cloud and AI business, he said: "We welcome the newest addition to the Singapore ecosystem."
Mr Deng said the firm has earmarked Singapore as one of its largest cloud nodes outside China.
He noted that Singapore has a good capacity of data centres and good connectivity, thanks to the submarine cable-fibre connections. Its efficient government, transparent investment environment and pro-business policies are also very attractive, he added.
Huawei's expansion in Singapore and the region comes as it faces accusations in the West of spying and intellectual property theft.
When asked if these allegations had affected its business here, Huawei International chief executive Nicholas Ma said there has been no impact and the local business has enjoyed good growth in the first quarter.
"We will invest more, not only in cloud and AI, but also in 5G and the enterprise business," he told reporters.
In the enterprise business sector, some 440 partners have registered with the firm and it has already cooperated with more than 200 partners. Huawei also enjoys "very good collaboration" with more than 50 subcontractors, Mr Ma said.
"We see more and more cooperation and a better future in this country," he said, referring to Singapore.