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Huawei offers $1.5b in hunt for global developers

Writer:   | Editor: Shang Ye  | From:  | Updated: 2019-09-19

HUAWEI Technologies Co. is offering up its most valuable 5G secrets and US$1.5 billion to software developers, courting the global tech community at a time the U.S. is heightening scrutiny of the Chinese giant.

The Shenzhen-based company aims to ramp up investment in its developer program over the next five years, deputy chairman Ken Hu told attendees at an annual conference in Shanghai yesterday.

Huawei is accelerating its outreach after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the sale of U.S. technology. In response, Huawei offered to sell a license to its vaunted fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology — needed to drive future modern economies — to create a viable competitor and prove its gear is free of security loopholes.

“There are a lot of concerns over Huawei’s 5G solutions. We believe those concerns are groundless,” Hu told reporters. “By allowing others to acquire these technologies via commercial methods, it will help reduce the concerns.”

Already, Huawei has inked more than 60 commercial contracts to build the wireless standard globally, Hu said. China itself is ready to finish the first phase of its 5G rollout by the middle of next year, he added.

Huawei executives turned out in force in the country’s financial capital yesterday, roping in foreign executives — such as the director-general of interstellar research project Square Kilometre Array — to showcase the tech giant’s road map for dominating future technologies.

Huawei established a developer program to encourage external parties to create apps for Huawei services, including its just-unveiled in-house smartphone platform, HarmonyOS.

The company intends to build its base of partner-developers to 5 million eventually, Hu said. That army of firms and individuals could help craft apps optimized to run on Huawei’s Kunpeng and AI chip computing architecture, which will power everything from Internet servers to machine learning solutions.

“This work has already started and we’ve received very good feedback,” he said. “We have implemented this strategy and we’re looking forward to more partners joining us.”

Hu, one of three main people who run Huawei’s day-to-day operations, reiterated an offer first voiced by founder Ren Zhengfei to share 5G blueprints. While he was vague on how that would work, Hu said Huawei would be willing to open up its tech vaults for a fee.

“Customers and the entire industry will benefit from more competition, which is something that Huawei is willing to see,” Hu said.