The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei took part in an Informatics Ventures Speaker Series event at the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University in October. The main speaker was Tian Tiao, advisor of the Huawei International Advisory Council and Co-Director of the Ruihua Innovative Management Research Institute at Zhejiang University. Also present at the event was Walter Ji, President of Huawei for Western Europe.
The focus of the talk was the ethos and philosophy of Huawei, which has recently surpassed Apple to become the biggest smartphone maker in the world behind Samsung. This is the first time there has been a split between the perennial market leaders Apple and Samsung in seven years. Huawei’s swift growth over the past decade has intrigued many in the tech business world, especially regarding the company’s unique management philosophy. This was the main topic of Mr Tiao’s talk, he has studied the structure and values of Huawei for around 20 years and in 2016 published a book called Huawei; Leadership, Culture, and Connectivity. The book has become a key reference point for anyone wishing to find out more about the story of Huawei as well as its unique strategy when it come to investing and training its workers.
Huawei is already a key technology partner for the UK, working with industry and government on research and major projects. Huawei President Walter Ji gave an insight into how Huawei see themselves expanding over the course of the next decade.
‘’We believe that there are two technologies that are going to become much more important, one is 5G networks. 5G networks can provide tremendous connectivity and the latency is almost nothing. There are a lot of fantastic opportunities for 5G to improve productivity across all sectors of industry.
The other is robotics, information is becoming more and more complex. AI can help us gather and maintain that information and help us build a more connected and informed society.’’
The event at Edinburgh University was part of an ongoing partnership between Huawei and the University of Edinburgh. Last year, the two parties announced a three-year joint project to open a new lab that will explore scientific and engineering research challenges relevant to academia and industry. The lab will be based in the University’s School of Informatics which is renown among academics for its work on data management, artificial intelligence, theoretical computer science, computational linguistics, systems architecture and bio-informatics.
Edinburgh University is currently strengthening its capabilities around data-driven research via a number of major investments, including its new Bayes Centre for Data Science and Technology, which opened at the end of October last year.
Commenting on the attraction of investing in the UK, Tian Tiao focused on the strong relationship between academia and business in terms of research:
‘’The UK has been leading the industrial revolution and l think this has come down thanks to a great combination of research and industry The UK is doing a great job in terms of Universities doing fundamental research and l think in the future, the UK should try to work more with all industries to improve productivity.’’