Over 200 government officials, technology experts, scholars, and representatives from tech companies gathered today from all across the Asia-Pacific region for the third annual Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day, held in Kuala Lumpur. The event was co-hosted by Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the Malaysia-China Business Council, and Huawei Technologies.
This year’s event focused on fostering digital economy in the APAC region, with special focus on digital transformation models for emerging markets, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and core industries like services and tourism. At the event, Huawei announced the construction of a new OpenLab in Malaysia, which will serve as an open, flexible, and secure platform for joint innovation with local partners. Huawei has built similar OpenLabs in Munich, Mexico, Dubai, Singapore, and China. Together, these labs support extensive cooperation between Huawei and over 400 solution partners globally.
At the event, Huawei’s Deputy Chairman of the Board and Rotating CEO, Guo Ping, spoke about the different stages of digital transformation, and what countries can focus on at each stage of development. “We’ve all heard about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” said Guo. “When a country goes digital, they experience a similar evolution of needs. I would divide this hierarchy into four layers. The first is ICT infrastructure, which is the foundation of a digital economy. The second is security, for both the physical and digital worlds. Security is necessary for further development. The third layer is developing a supportive environment for industries to go digital. Building on a solid foundation of privacy protection, the fourth and highest layer is enabling broader information sharing. More data will help cities and national governments better manage the digitization process, ultimately promoting safer cities and smarter countries.”
Guo stressed that technological innovation and an open ecosystem are critical to the success of digital initiatives in the APAC region. “We need to collaborate more broadly and share views across the ecosystem, including between industries and universities worldwide. Close collaboration between industry and academia will help ensure a thriving digital economy. As always, Huawei remains committed to the Asia-Pacific region, and will continue working with our partners to drive digital economic growth and ensure a better connected future for all of APAC.”
The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and Minister of Home Affairs, YB Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi, also delivered a keynote speech at the event. He expressed his optimism about the future of digital transformation in the Asia Pacific region. He encouraged all APAC countries to communicate more and work more closely together to drive positive, sustainable economic outcomes.
Also at this event, The Brookings Institution, a U.S. think tank, released the global safe city report, a blueprint of safe cities around the world. Findings from the report indicate that, from an infrastructure perspective, the Asia Pacific region has enormous potential for smart city and safe city development. Huawei highlighted its own experience helping the Longgang District in Shenzhen, China, build out its safe city infrastructure.
Openness, innovation, collaboration, and shared success were the common themes of this year’s event. Tony Q.S. Quek, Associate Professor from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), spoke about Huawei’s Innovation Research Program, which funds joint innovation with universities. Professor Dr. Ong Hang See from Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) and YBhg Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, CEO of Malaysia Petroleum Resource Corporation (MPRC), presented real-world examples of the electric power industry and the oil and gas industry going digital.
Xue Ding, co-founder of ofo, outlined the shared bike company’s partnership with Huawei, which helped ofo embed Internet of Things (IoT) chips in their bicycles and leverage artificial intelligence to offer riders more personalized services. Xue indicated that ofo would like to join forces with Huawei and other partners to build out the global IoT ecosystem.
During the event, Huawei signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the SME Corporation Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Terengganu State Government, and CyberSecurity Malaysia, expanding cooperation across a number of domains, including scientific research, innovation, talent, smart campuses, and cyber security. Together, they will promote a thriving digital economy and ensure prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since its debut in 2013, Huawei Innovation Day has been held in London, Milan, Munich, Paris, Singapore, and Sydney.