SINGAPORE – Chinese tech giant Huawei is going to launch a cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) innovation lab in Singapore, with a pledge to invest “hundreds of millions” in the Republic and the Asia-Pacific market in the upcoming years.
The main aim of the new open lab, which will be “available for everyone to use”, is to promote cloud and AI technologies for use in Singapore, said Edward Deng, vice-president of the cloud business unit at the firm.
He also 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.
The new Cloud & AI Innovation Lab aims to nurture local AI talents and offer resources to help universities, and enterprises conduct research, and build cloud, and AI applications.
Deng said that university students, for example, will be invited to join and develop whatever they wanted.
For companies, the lab could display AI applications in specific sectors and gather industry players to work together. Citing an example, Deng said, “We may have one week for the medical industry, when we can invite hospitals to share their practices in AI.”
Besides the building of the facility, Huawei will provide AI services such as research and development robots, development toolkits, Traffic Intelligent Twins, which taps AI, cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, and edge computing to help better manage cities, including traffic, emergency response, and public water systems.
Additionally, Deng hopes to use the lab to roll out projects in areas such as environmental protection, disaster management and pollution prevention. He felt that Huawei has gained much experience in these areas in China and can share it in Singapore.
For Singapore, Huawei’s decision comes as a wonderful news as it coincides with Singapore’s objective of becoming a smart nation.
In a short address at the start of the Huawei Cloud Summit, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) chief executive Tan Kiat How said cloud services, higher-speed broadbands and next-generation networks are some of the essential components of the digital transformation in Singapore.
“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, important technology players from around the world to be part of our ecosystem,” he said to the gathering of about 1,000 developers, industry players, experts and government officials.
With all the details about what the new lab encompasses, one wonders why Huawei chose Singapore out of so many other Asia-Pacific countries.
Deng shared that Singapore has a good capacity of data centres and good connectivity, an advantedge Singapore has on others due to the submarine cable fibre connections.
Furthermore, he added that Singapore’s efficient government, transparent investment environment and pro-business policies are factors that are immensely attractive, thereby propelling this decision.
With Singapore being an ideal location, the firm has already earmarked the Republic to be one of its largest cloud nodes outside of China.
Another reason for Huawei’s expansion in Singapore and the region can be attributed to their facing of accusations from the West, where they are alleged to have spied and stolen intellectual property.
In spite of such allegations, Huawei International chief executive Nicholas Ma said there has been no impact on domestic market and the business has enjoyed good growth in the first quarter.
In fact, Ma told the reporters, “We will invest more not only in cloud and AI, but also in 5G and the enterprise business.”
He added that there will be more cooperation between Huawei and Singapore, thereby seeing a better future in the Republic.
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