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James Chen, President of Central Asia & Caucasus Region

James Chen: Huawei Strives to Make Breakthroughs and to be Best Partner for Digital Transformation

This week, Huawei hosted special event dedicated to digital transformation of Silk Road.

Innovation Day is Huawei’s global brand campaign aimed at mobilizing the power of governments, academics, industry and think tanks in the region to explore the opportunities and challenges of a intelligent society in the future.

The event was held on November 14 in Astana city, the capital of Kazakhstan.

More than 150 representatives of industry and academia, government, analysts and representatives of the media were invited for joint discussion of prospects for the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) under the title “Explore the way to digital Silk Road”, as well as the digital transformation problems. Huawei has also launched an initiative to create the best digital Silk Road through innovation, openness and mutual benefit.

Caucasus Business Week had an interview with James Chen, President of Central Asia & Caucasus Region

Which technologies does Huawei consider key for connecting emerging markets?

The EM (Emerging Economies) market still has a huge demographic dividend and the basic needs for communications are far from being met – a total of 4.7 billion people in the EM market, 3 billion people without access to the Internet and 800 million families without access Into broadband; to expand broadband coverage, so that more people can enjoy the convenience of digital life, improve the vitality of economic development is the EM market’s top priority.

We expect EM to add 2 billion mobile internet connections by 2025 and add 500 million home broadband subscribers. The main obstacle to the current EM market development is the return on investment (ROI) is too low. High CAPEX and OPEX, low willingness of operators and governments to invest.

We recommend that in densely-populated and economically prosperous regions, Huawei recommends that home broadband access be provided using copper or fiber optic (FTTx) to provide stable and fast broadband services. WTTx can be used as a home broadband access solution in remote rural areas, mountainous areas, and forested areas. With WTTx + FTTx hybrid networking, operators can quickly access broadband subscribers, reducing ROI and increasing ROI.

We judge that humans will enter a smart society in the next two or three decades. This intelligent society is a fully connected world, all things intelligence. It is estimated that by 2025 there will be 100 billion physical connections and 1 trillion virtual connections.

ICT will be a key player in smart society. Smart society needs two basic conditions: First, with the popularization of 4K and 8K, high-definition images require low-cost broadband; second, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality require low latency of the network. This is the direction that Huawei hopes to make breakthroughs and is also a window of opportunity for the times. There is a huge opportunity here.

Specifically, Cloud Computing, 5G, Future Smart Terminal is our key focus for the future.

Huawei could overtake Apple this year according to International Data Corporation, how did the company reach this success?

I think in the mobile Internet era, the development of smart phones space is huge, or even unimaginable. I think in the future, Huawei will become a stronger player in the terminal market, and I am very confident about it.

The future of terminals is not only to solve connection between people and people, but also people and machines, machines and machines. With the development of new technologies such as cloud computing, the functions implemented on mobile phones will also be more and more in the future. Many functions we can not imagine today. In such a huge and endlessly changing market, Huawei should closely watch the needs of users and the future direction of technological evolution. Only to seize the user’s needs and technology evolution direction, we can survive.

The comparison between company and company, ranking is only a result, not our goal.

Our goal is not to focus on the adversary, but to focus on the consumer. Our goal is to ensure that our products are consumer-friendly, bring value to them and bring about changes in their lives, so that Huawei has always had the vitality to survive.

Huawei has already shipped over 100 million phones in 2017, what is the market share of Caucasus region and how important the region is for the company?

Major breakthroughs have been made in the high-end market: Huawei has grown steadily for five years in a row to become a global high-end brand with a growth rate higher than the industry average

In the context of the slowdown of the industry, Huawei maintained its steady growth with sales of 73 million units in the first half of 2017, an increase of 20% over the same period of previous year, exceeding the industry average of the smartphone market.

In the first half of 2017, sales revenue increased by more than 36% to RMB105.4 billion

Industry analyst IDC data shows that in the first quarter of 2017, Huawei’s market share has risen to 9.8% of the global smartphone market.

In the Central Asia and Caucasus, sales of Huawei handsets are also rapidly growing: shipments increased 52% over the previous year. As of July 2017, our market share in Ukraine and Kazakhstan increased to 14% and 12.1% respectively.

Why it is important to transform industries into digital and how it is connected to the economy?

In the next five to ten years, traditional industries will enter the critical period of digital transformation in order to promote business innovation and growth. Digital transformation has become an important guarantee for enterprises to win business success.

  • More and more business leaders are also aware of the importance and urgency of digital transformation and becoming a digital enterprise. From Kodak and Nokia phones these examples can be seen, if you do not embrace business changes will be eliminated by the market.
  • IDC, a leading consultant, predicts that by the end of 2017, 67% of Global 2000 companies will use digital transformation as the core of their business strategy.
  • Connectivity is the cornerstone of the digital economy. The Huawei Global Connectivity Index GCI 2017 study shows that the global digital economy is accelerating. ICT are a key driver of economic growth and will generate an additional $ 3 in GDP for every additional dollar of ICT investment . Huawei predicts that for every additional dollar of ICT investment by 2025, it will receive an additional $ 5 in GDP.
  • Countries in the Central Asian Caucasus have already taken a fast-moving digital economy and released a digital economy strategy. For example, Turkey’s 2023 strategy, the Kazakh government issued the strategy of “Digital Kazakhstan”, Belarus released the plan to build “IT countries” and Uzbekistan released the ICT national plan. I believe under the guidance of these national strategies, the development and innovation in information technology in Central Asia will enter the fast lane of development.
  • Huawei’s position is to be the enabler and best partner for digital transformation in the industry, helping customers to make digital transformation and achieve business success. Through the “platform + ecology” strategy, to create a cloud, management platform for collaboration; work with industry partners to build an open, cooperative, win-win ecosystem.
  • Of the 197 most recent Fortune 500 companies, 45 of the Top 100 have chosen Huawei as their digital transformation partner.

What is the goal of Huawei Central Asia Innovation Day and what are your expectations from this event?

Central Asia’s Innovation Day focuses on the relationship between ICT industry and economic development, meets the challenge of digital transformation, builds a prosperous digital ecology and discusses with entrepreneurs, academics and industry regulators in Central Asia how to make industrial cake larger and achieve mutual win-win situation.

The reason for choosing Kazakhstan:

  • Kazakhstan is located in the center of Eurasia and has a superior geographical position. It is also the country with the strongest economic in Central Asia and the country with the fastest growing digital economy.
  • The government of Kazakhstan has set an ambitious digital agenda to become one of the top 30 economies in the world by 2050. Huawei hopes to participate in and enable the digital agenda in Kazakhstan.
  • The digital transformation of Kazakhstan has a demonstration effect in the region. Innovation Day invited internationally renowned think tanks, industry elites, research institutes and regulators together to discuss the promotion of ICT infrastructure in the economy based on Kazakhstan, the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation, and the construction of digital ecology and other hot issues Regional countries can draw lessons from their experience.
By Nutsa Galumashvili
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