HuaweiInnovation is critical for the digital economy

Innovation is critical for the digital economy


Huawei’s five-year strategic partnership with Imperial College London aims to push the boundaries of AI and 5G technologies, writes Victor Zhang

The British government has recognised that innovation is critical to the economy. The last Budget pledged to increase public spending on R&D by £22 billion a year by 2024 and its new industrial strategy identified artificial intelligence and the data economy as priorities. Huawei is committed to playing its part in promoting the development of these technologies in the UK.

As an employee-owned and run company, we can focus on investing in science and technology for the long term. We have 96,000 people doing R&D around the world, and our founder, Ren Zhengfei, has confirmed that we will increase our spending from $15 billion (£12.3 billion) in 2019 to more than $20 billion this year. This will ensure that our products continue to compete with the world’s best.

So I am pleased to announce a new, five-year strategic partnership with Imperial College London and our collaboration on a new innovation hub. This partnership is the culmination of almost a decade of collaboration between our two organisations. We are the “enabler of innovation” in this case, providing world-leading technologies to a world-leading research institution. As part of the agreement we will provide a 5G network and AI cloud platform to Imperial. This new innovation hub will support research at the Data Science Institute (DSI), the Leonardo Centre at the Imperial College Business School, the Enterprise Lab and the wider SME community with which the university collaborates.

Our aim is to create an environment where researchers can explore the boundaries of 5G and AI technologies and rethink what is possible in a future digital world, helping to identify solutions that make businesses smarter and more sustainable. 

In 2020 Huawei celebrates 20 years of serving the UK market. Our success is largely based on our pioneering technology and long-standing partnerships with customers and universities. With Imperial, we are working with one of the world’s elite research institutions and together we understand that next-generation connectivity and the opportunities it enables are key to the UK economy’s future. 

Our collaboration with world-leading partners ensures a win-win situation for business and academia. Backing institutions such as Imperial means that we not only get to support the work of some of the world’s most brilliant minds but also help to drive forward science and technology. The findings of the studies we fund are regularly published in academic journals, so the benefits are shared with researchers worldwide. Ultimately, for us, this environment of scientific endeavour and progress means better technology solutions and products to improve all our lives.

At the dawn of a new era of connectivity and AI, we can herald the next chapter in our special and innovative relationships.

Victor Zhang is vice-president of Huawei Technologies. Learn more about Huawei and higher education.

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