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UAE, ABU DHABI - Telecoms & IT

Alaa Elshimy

Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Enterprise Business Group, Middle East & Central Asia Region, Huawei

Bio

Alaa Elshimy studied at Harvard, MIT and London business school and holds an MBA and Bachelor of Communications Engineering. Currently he is a doctorate student at the Swiss Business School.

"The Middle East is one of the most important regions for Huawei, globally."
TBY talks to Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Enterprise Business Group, Middle East & Central Asia Region, Huawei, about implementing cloud solutions, sustainability, and 5.5G technology.
What have been Huawei Cloud’s latest achievements in the UAE and why have you decided to keep this trend in the country?

The Middle East is one of the most important markets for Huawei globally, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia being the most important markets in the region. Notably, 2022 was an important year for us in cloud – we launched the first cloud region in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, adding over 50 enterprises and government customers into this cloud. We also launched 15 new innovative cloud services last year. The second cloud region in the Middle East will be operational in 2023 in Saudi Arabia. Further, Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) granted permission to Huawei Cloud to offer cloud services in Kuwait as the GCC country pursues a cloud-first policy. Huawei Cloud invested US$100 million into upgrading the Huawei Cloud Developer Program last year. The program has attracted over 3,000 enterprises, produced over 2,300 joint solutions, and certified more than 16,000 developers. By the end of 2022, the number of Huawei Cloud developers worldwide had increased from 2.6 million to more than 4 million. In the Middle East, the cloud customer base more than doubled in 2022. Moving forward, we will continue to develop our partnerships and customer relationships within the cloud ecosystem to build vertical and business solutions and make them available for our customers. To that end, we have added Arabic applications, demonstrating our continued commitment to the region.

How do you help the various governments in countries you operate in to implement these services?

The public sector is one of the most important segments for Huawei, having partnered with over 50 different ministries and governments globally. Huawei has also participated in the digital transformation of more than 700 cities worldwide, accumulating valuable practical experience in the process. We have thus evolved a comprehensive framework to help governments and municipalities build their digital capabilities. We begin by appraising a country’s digital transformation objectives before collaborating with them to execute and deliver on their chosen objectives. For example, in smart cities and smart government applications, we provide intelligent public service solutions whereby citizens can access all digital services via a single window. All their data is also uploaded on the same platform. Such a system integrates different departments and uses big data to collect and appropriately share the data as needed with authorized people from other departments. This saves money and effort for the country and its citizens. Within the smart government sphere, the UAE’s strategy is clear – the country aims to become a global hub for digital transformation across society. Our technology and expertise can help the country achieve these goals, as demonstrated by the launch of a cloud region in Abu Dhabi.

A green and intelligent society is a major pillar for the UAE and Abu Dhabi. What role does Huawei play in this?

Huawei created the Digital Power Business Unit in 2021, whereby we leverage digital capabilities to manage and develop clean power and enable energy savings in electronic systems. By the end of 2022, Huawei Digital Power had helped customers generate 695.1 billion kWh of green power and save 19.5 billion kWh of electricity. These efforts have offset 340 million tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to planting 470 million trees. From a product, operations and maintenance (O&M) and solutions point of view, our products are green by design, ensuring minimum savings of 30% on power consumption. Our data center technologies are an excellent example: we have installed closed-circuit modular racks that are easy to build and manage, with 30% to 50% less energy consumption than traditional data centers. We have gone further and developed a passive network that requires no power at all – you don’t need electricity to connect these switches or run long-distance fiber. In O&M, automating the network means our customers don’t need to send people to the site for maintenance, saving money, time and effort. Powering our carbon neutrality efforts is our commitment to R&D. Huawei’s R&D investment reached $23.22 billion in 2022, representing 25.1% of annual revenue and bringing the total R&D expenditure over the past ten years to more than USD 140.55 billion. By the end of 2022, Huawei held over 120,000 active patents in various domains

What is the short to medium-term plan for Huawei?

We continue to partner with our customers and various governments to ensure we understand their national digital transformation plans and strategies and help translate them into reality. The same applies to the different industrial verticals. We have already built over 100 scenarios for ten industries and continue to invest in them. Meanwhile, 5.5G is one of the key areas we focus on. As billions of devices get online, they generate actionable data intelligence that ultimately benefits the consumer. This increased connectivity requires more bandwidth, higher speed, and lower latency. And hence, we are paving the way for the arrival of 5.5G within a few years – 5.5G will upgrade network capabilities by 10X, support 10 Gbps experience, and enable 100 billion connections and native intelligence for numerous services. In short, 5.5G is necessary to build an intelligent world. Meanwhile, we will continue investing in cyber security, while AI is another crucial pillar. We also continue to partner with universities and governments in various countries to foster new talent, keeping in mind that human capital is the key to the success of any digital transformation strategy. We have partnerships with over 440 universities and colleges across the region. Through our various CSR initiatives such as Seeds for the Future, the annual Huawei ICT Competition, Huawei ICT Academy, joint innovation centers, labs and other CSR initiatives, Huawei has trained over 120,000 technical talents across the region and certified 37,000 in total, out of which over 5,000 are Emirati.

 

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