On February 4, Huawei announced its lucrative partnership with one of the largest ICT and technology communities in the UAE region: Dubai Internet City (DIC), a member of TECOM Group, to set up its national headquarters. The signing ceremony epitomized the friendly and beneficial relationship that Huawei continues to uphold with the United Arab Emirates. Telecom Review spoke to David Wang, CEO of Huawei UAE and other esteemed guests at the event held at the One and Only Royal Mirage in Dubai.
Huawei's large investment into its new HQ in Dubai Internet City is set to further drive the UAE's digitization and build upon Dubai's knowledge economy, thus supporting the Emirate's vision to become an innovation-led economy and smart city. With the continued intervention of global players like Huawei, Dubai is well on its way to achieving its smart city goals. The new HQ in DIC will further cement this notion. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of His Excellency Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the Federal Government of the UAE, as well as other respected members of DIC and Huawei.
The 92,000 square feet Huawei UAE headquarters will host its three core business divisions, including Carrier Business Group, Enterprise Business Group and the Consumer Business Group. Since the year 2000, Dubai Internet City has driven a developed and prosperous ecosystem for technology organizations like Huawei, and today is home to Fortune 500 listed companies and multinationals as well as some of the region's most dynamic and successful technology SMEs and start-ups from all elements of the ICT value chain. The DIC area is a hub of global technology leaders and innovative solutions.
""Fortune 500 companies like Huawei continuously investing and aligning with the ICT vision of the UAE marks a strong endorsement of this country's strategic leadership to make the UAE the smartest country in the world,"" said Malek Al Malek, CEO of TECOM Business Park, commenting on the signing ceremony. ""We welcome Huawei's expanded growth in the UAE and in turn contribute to achieving a quantum leap in ICT solutions at across all levels in the nation.""
The company's technological innovation, as well as its international and local experience means that Huawei UAE is now well positioned to collaboratively support the local government in its pursuit of innovative solutions to make the UAE the smartest country and its people the happiest in the world. Huawei is well-known for bringing forth the capabilities and experiences needed to be a strategic value added partner on smart city initiatives across the UAE. Through its customer-centric approach over the years, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio in the UAE that can add value and support the building of a knowledge economy and make the UAE's digital transformation possible.
""Globally, the UAE is a key market for Huawei as it exemplifies the highest ambition in ICT growth,"" said Charles Ding, senior vice president at Huawei. ""Over the years, we have been effectively connecting systems, businesses, cities, societies and people around the region. Now with our expanded presence and international capabilities to match the UAE's ICT vision, we look forward to redefining the landscape by being a catalyst to further improving efficiency and transforming industries and being part of the UAE growth story.""
""The UAE government has played an invaluable and significantly commendable role in advancing the country's innovation agenda,"" Charles added. ""Aligning with the nation's vision, Huawei has supported the UAE's ongoing initiatives to use the power of technology to pioneer smart services, solutions and applications for the wider community. The establishment of our new headquarters in Dubai Internet City is further testament to our commitment and relentless pursuit for technological excellence as we bridge our global R&D capabilities with seamless knowledge transfer to support the nation's transformation agenda.""
Since its inception, Dubai Internet City has remained a prime spot for business and ICT for over 16 years. As part of its next chapter and from its base in DIC, Huawei UAE plans to embrace the UAE's ICT transformation and continue working with business partners, operators and consumers to build a better connected world. Operating in 170 countries around the world, the Chinese corporation has built great insight into lessons that can be valuable to young countries like the UAE. With experience pioneering technologies and providing support to global markets like Singapore and Germany with their digitization agenda, Huawei certainly has the ""know-how"" to assist Dubai with smart city transformation.
""Together with Huawei, we have pioneered significant growth across the UAE's ICT sector,"" said Majed Al Suwaidi, managing director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City. Al Suwaidi believes that Huawei's expansion and establishment in DIC is a clear demonstration of sector development across the UAE and the wider region. ""We are honoured to be partnering with our longstanding business partner to support their growth further,"" he said, adding: ""We look forward to working closely with Huawei to encourage innovation and creativity, as well as industry growth, and support the development of new technology over the coming years.""
Huawei's exponential growth and success in the Gulf region and particularly the UAE can be attributed to globalized resource deployment and localized business operations. During the company's operation in the UAE, it has established a technological support and logistics hub in Dubai and also initiated an annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program to train HCT students in the field of IT. Huawei will continue to leverage these strengths to support local communities and serve them better and most importantly be a part of the UAE's success story.
""Since our establishment in the UAE, the company has witnessed exponential growth, with the strong support of TECOM Group and the local government for a conducive business environment,"" said David Wang, CEO of Huawei UAE. ""Being a global company, Huawei has a strong legacy of innovation with over 75,000 engineers globally specialized with over USD$6.6 billion invested into various R&D programs.
""With the invaluable support from our global HQ, a strong team for seamless knowledge transfer and experience from 170 countries, Huawei is well-poised to support the UAE transformation agenda including nurturing local talent. We truly feel that we are the best partner in helping governments achieve their visions for building smarter cities and making citizens happier and we look forward to serving the UAE and its people better.""
Mr. Wang further went on to detail the areas of smart city development that Huawei specializes in. The company focuses on three areas. The first is cloud: ""The smart lifestyle is about moving our traditional life from the real-world to the cyber-space; therefore, we consume more and more data. We need a warehouse to accommodate, protect, manage and distribute all this data. We will make this warehouse larger and highly efficient, and also very safe. The second area of expertise we bring is connections. By our estimation, by 2025, with a population of 10 billion, there will be 100 billion connections. People will need much bigger bandwidth, yet they want to pay less money. These are the areas where Huawei is going to be investing in to create a better solution to satisfy peoples' expectations. The third area we are working in is devices. Today the most popular devices are smartphones, but four years from now we may not need a big smartphone that we need to charge almost every day; we might have more convenient devices by then to communicate with.""
There are a number of devices that Huawei will contribute to Dubai's smart city transformation according to Mr. Wang, such as surveillance cameras, environmental sensors, temperature sensors, and risk detectors, and even communication modules in vehicles. But what he truly appreciates about Huawei's partnership with Dubai Internet City and the forthcoming HQ, is the relationship that the company has established with the United Arab Emirates.
""TECOM and Dubai Internet City provide a very friendly, very productive business environment,"" Mr. Wang explained. ""This is always encouraging for Huawei to invest and conduct business in this region. Today's signing with DIC set up a platform for us to face the future, which will enable us to build a new platform to bring in more global innovation, resources, expertise, and also our experience from our business in other countries. We will be launching our innovation centre later this year.""
There are a number of reasons why Huawei chose to invest in a country like the UAE. The nation, according to Huawei, is impressively ranked as first in worldwide ICT use and government efficiency, first in worldwide mobile network coverage in terms of population covered, first worldwide in the importance of ICT to the government's vision of the future and first worldwide in the impact of ICT on access to basic services. What's more, the UAE is ranked second worldwide in government success in ICT promotion, second worldwide in impact of ICT's on services and products and second worldwide in government procurement of advanced technologies projects.
The UAE and Huawei form a perpetual bond of innovation. Huawei, considered to be the most innovative company of 2014 by the Boston Consulting Group, maintains an excellent relationship with the UAE, which is especially important to the company for two reasons according to Mr. Wang: ""The first reason is that the UAE government provides a very friendly and open business environment. The second reason is that we are very inspired by the UAE government's vision to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world.""
Huawei appreciates the values instilled in the UAE, and the commitment the government has put into its smart city goals, which Mr. Wang says is ""something very attractive to us."" The company will therefore continue to work in the region promoting innovation and attending to customers' requirements: two drives which push business forward and maintain growth.