Huawei defies US restrictions in 5G push

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Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu.
Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu.

Although Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has endured sanctions from the US government over the past couple of years, the company has made significant gains in the 5G market.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2021, Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu said in collaboration with its partners and regional carriers, Huawei has signed more than 1 000 contracts for industrial 5G applications in more than 20 industries.

Former US president Donald Trump put Huawei on an export blacklist, accusing the company of being a national security risk because of its alleged close ties with the Chinese government.

While Huawei has repeatedly denied these allegations, the Trump administration had been lobbying its allies to deny the Chinese multinational in their 5G networks.

Earlier this month, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei called on the new US administration under president Joe Biden to come up with more open policies that are in the interests of US companies and the US economy as a whole.

Although Huawei has had problems with the US and some of its allies, the company is playing a key role in the deployment of 5G networks in regions like Africa.

For example, in SA, all the major telcos that have launched 5G networks are using Huawei in parts of their 5G networks, including the Huawei 5G CPE router.

In his address, Hu said in recent years, technologies like 5G, cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) have begun playing an important role in manufacturing and accelerating the transition to more intelligent and flexible operations.

Hu explained how Huawei's Dongguan South Factory is currently using 5G networks with cloud-based AI applications in its 5G smartphone production lines to drive huge productivity gains.

According to Huawei, the 5G industry has been developing faster than expected, with operators already seeing commercial returns from the first wave of 5G rollouts.

It notes the 5G user base and the number of 5G devices in commercial use have exploded since 2019.

“By the end of 2020, 380 5G devices had hit the market, eight times more than there were the year before. The mobile 5G user base had also reached 220 million and wireless home broadband connections reached 1.05 million, a 17 and 21 times year-on-year increase, respectively,” the company says.

As an ICT infrastructure provider, Huawei has been focusing heavily on 5G innovation to help drive the digital transformation of all industries, said Hu.

He noted Huawei’s innovation is focused on three areas: technology, products and applications.

According to Hu, Huawei is also working closely with customers and partners to drive innovation in 5G and develop devices targeted at meeting specific industry needs.

Through joint innovation and strategic partnerships with its customers, Huawei aims to drive 1 to N expansion of 5G applications for business, said Hu, adding the company is working to coordinate 5G communication and industry standards to more rapidly scale up 5GtoB applications.

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