Saudi media delegation given insider access to first technology company to win prestigious King Khalifa Foundation Award

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A delegation of Saudi media visited Huawei’s headquarters in China and toured the facilities of the first Chinese company to win the prestigious King Khalifa Foundation Award this year. In order to give the journalists an understanding of the latest ICT solutions’ role in the digital transformation era and how ICT can assist the Saudi government in their efforts to build a knowledge-based economy in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan 2020, Huawei gave the Saudi journalists insider access to their state-of-the-art laboratories and research centers as well as the opportunity to meet with top executives to discuss ICT’s role in driving the development of key vertical sectors.

The Saudi delegation was first invited to visit Huawei’s global headquarters in Shenzhen. There they toured a number of key Huawei facilities, including Huawei campus, attending a presentation about the company history and key milestones, a tour of Huawei University, which offers education to trainees from all over the world, and a visit to Huawei’s manufacturing lines and logistics center, in addition to a number of labs, R&D and cybersecurity centers. The delegation was also invited to visit Huawei’s production lines and logistics center. At the conclusion of their tour, Joe Kelly, Vice President of International Media, met the journalists for an exclusive corporate presentation followed by an in-depth Q&A session to address their questions about Huawei’s latest solutions and delve more deeply into how Huawei supports digital transformation globally. Following their time in Shenzhen, the media stopped by Shanghai to visit Huawei’s state-of-the-art R&D center and a number of partner sites. There they gained further insight on how advanced ICT technologies can be applied to benefit a range of industries across vertical sectors.

Commenting on the visit, Dennis Zhang, CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia, said, “Huawei is keen to support creating a digital ecosystem in Saudi to drive the anticipated socioeconomic growth in the Kingdom, and align with the government targets outlined in the National Transformation Program 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030. We thank the Saudi delegation for accepting our invitation to tour our headquarters and witness firsthand how ICT can ensure their nation’s continued growth and success. Digital transformation is the most important trend that will drive global development over the next decade. At Huawei, we strive to lead digitization across vertical sectors, and continuously improve and innovate every step of the way, making use of our keen knowledge of industry trends, in-depth understanding of customer needs, and our long-term, and heavy R&D investment in the ICT domain. Through these efforts, we are building open, flexible, resilient, and secure digital platforms. Moving forward, along with our industry partners, we will continue to build a sustainable ecosystem founded on shared success, and ultimately turn a fully-connected, intelligent world into a reality.”

King Khalid Responsible Competitiveness (RC) Award

This visit follows a few weeks after King Khalid Responsible Competitiveness (RC) Award honored Huawei with the first-place prize. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman personally recognized Huawei for its excellent sustainability practices and responsible competitiveness leadership, as well as its exceptional management capabilities and innovative social and environmental initiatives.

Huawei was also celebrated for deploying their most advanced technologies, high quality products and secure networks in the Kingdom, empowering local partners, taking the ICT talent pool to the next stage of creativity and innovation, and building the ICT ecosystem to achieve the digital kingdom economy targets.

Huawei’s global vision is to bring digital to every person, home, and organization, for a fully connected and intelligent world. In line with this, the company has actively sought to ensure that every corner of the Kingdom enjoys high-speed broadband access. Huawei has been leading the long-term network evolution strategy in the Kingdom, spearheading the development from 4G to LTE to 5G through close collaboration with partners. Not only did Huawei build the first Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) radio frequency which reached the highest speed in the whole MENA region, Huawei also helped the Kingdom reach a groundbreaking milestone by launching the first 5G live site in MENA which demonstrated the upcoming revolutionary 4K video and VR capabilities. In addition, Huawei has been developing national broadband projects in the fields of fiber to the home and advancing the field of wireless broadband. Overall, Huawei has delivered the majority of the government’s Universal Service Fund projects, providing high-quality network connections to millions of people in remote areas of the Kingdom.

Huawei has also implemented many of the Kingdom’s most innovative and forward-thinking projects. These include the Smart Yanbu Industrial City, a transformative engine for Saudi Arabia and a model for the growing smart city sector. Thanks to Huawei’s varied portfolio of products and solutions, Yanbu Industrial City is starting to enjoy many benefits of being a leading smart city, resulting in a higher quality of life for residents of the city.

Huawei established its subsidiary in the Kingdom in 2002. In the past 17 years, under the core values of customer-centricity, Huawei has maintained the goal of “becoming a high-quality synonym for ICT industry” and continues to bring innovative ICT solutions and products to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Huawei has forged strategic partnerships with Saudi Arabia’s local operators to lead the construction of telecommunication networks, serving more than two-thirds of Saudi population, ranking No. 2 in smartphone market share. Huawei’s enterprise ICT solutions are now serving 14 government ministries.

Huawei’s 5G Vision

During their visit, the Saudi media were introduced to Huawei’s vision of an all-connected, all-intelligent 5G world. Huawei has developed into a passionate advocate for 5G networks. The company has invested US$600 million in 5G R&D since 2009 and has established 11 research centers on the field around the world, as well as building partnerships with over 30 telcos for 5G development. Huawei established the Wireless X Labs to explore the implications of 5G and has been pioneering groundbreaking use cases for the network. Huawei was the first company to break through the bottleneck to 5G commercial use by releasing Balong 5G01, the world’s first 5G customer-premises equipment. This made Huawei the first company with capabilities in 5G chipsets, devices, and networks, and the first to offer an end-to-end 5G solution. In addition, Huawei Rotating CEO Ken Hu recently announced that Huawei has shipped over 10,000 5G base stations in 2018, evidence that 5G progress is accelerating much faster than expected.

Huawei now has 23 commercial contracts worldwide, and over 50 operators globally have already deployed commercial 5G tests using the company’s technology. The Middle East is leading the way: over 7 countries and 14 operators in the region have launched 5G trials and field trials using Huawei’s E2E 5G systems, effectively promoting the development of 5G in the region. In a groundbreaking global milestone, Huawei supported leading operators in the region to launch the world’s first 5G commercial network in the first half of 2018.

Artificial Intelligence

The Saudi delegation also had an opportunity to discuss with Huawei’s experts how the company is spearheading AI development globally, and in the Middle East. The GCC was one of the first regions worldwide to import Huawei’s recently-unveiled revolutionary AI products and solutions. The AI product launch in the Middle East was held just a week after Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu announced the global launch of Huawei’s AI strategy, as well as its full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio. Huawei’s AI portfolio includes its new Ascend series of AI chips – the world’s first AI IP and chip series designed for a full range of scenarios. The portfolio also includes new products and cloud services that are built on Ascend chip capabilities. With its full-stack AI portfolio, Huawei aims to provide pervasive intelligence to help drive industry development and build a fully connected, intelligent world.


The delegation also visited Huawei’s Cyber Security Centre to learn more about how the company works to ensure secure and stable customer network operations and protect user privacy. Huawei believes in enhancing security through innovation, collaboration, and working together with partners and customers to build a digital world that all can trust. In 2018, Huawei saw good results in the development of international technical standards for security. Some of Huawei’s achievements include submitting 186 security standard proposals to 3GPP SA3, contributing technical proposals on 5G security architecture, and leading the development of security specifications for cloud operating systems. Huawei works closely with all its stakeholders to improve security capabilities and address global cybersecurity challenges. These initiatives include continuously expanding cooperation with the security teams of leading global carriers, introducing industry best practices, active involvement in open source communities and working with industry peers to launch new security measures, solutions and products.

 Talent Ecosystem

 During the visit to Huawei’s training center, otherwise known as “Huawei University”, the delegation saw firsthand Huawei’s numerous training premises. These were the same facilities where government bodies, operators and universities from across the world send their employees and students to receive advanced training on the latest ICT solutions and products, so that they come back to their countries and implement their knowledge and experience in their work and studies. Huawei has played an active role in developing the domestic talent ecosystem of Saudi Arabia through a number of initiatives implemented over the past years. The goal is to create a generation empowered with the skills they need to lead Saudi Arabia’s ICT industry into the future and achieve the goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan 2020.

 Seeds for the Future

For the fourth year running, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) will collaborate with Huawei to launch Huawei’s global ‘Seeds for the Future’ program in the Kingdom.

This year the Seeds for the Future program is expected to attract numerous projects from a wide range of universities presented from Riyadh, each with the potential to be selected for incubation. Students will also receive focused mentoring from top Huawei executives and, like the media delegation, had the chance to travel to Huawei’s global. CITC has been collaborating with Huawei since 2015 on Seeds for the Future, and so far a total of 51 students have directly benefited from the program.

Collaboration with MCIT

Additionally, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) recently partnered with Huawei to announce the launch of the Kingdom’s first Internet of Things (IoT) Lab and a fund of one million US dollars to support Saudi entrepreneurs. The new lab will be located at Huawei’s innovation center in Riyadh and will serve entrepreneurs as a platform to innovate IoT applications which will directly target the most important vertical sectors to the Kingdom. This joint initiative between MCIT and Huawei will boost the development of products and applications and promote an open and participatory IoT ecosystem. The new IoT Lab is the first such innovation and development joint lab in Saudi Arabia. Under this cooperation, Huawei has also made available one million dollars of funding to developers to accelerate the adoption of IoT in the Kingdom.

This announcement comes on the back of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with MCIT to provide the Kingdom with a variety of training programs over the next three years. As part of the MoU, from 2018 to 2020, 1,500 Saudis will undergo training from Huawei in skills related to ICT across the board. One of the programs, the Future Leaders Program, will end with full-time employment for the trainees who are qualified. Huawei will also provide awareness programs to be delivered through Customer Solution Integration and Innovation Experience Centre (CSIC) visits.

ICT Competition

 Huawei also launched the ICT Competition in the Kingdom for the second year running. Recently, a team from TVTC, and King Saud University walked away with the third-place prize international finals in Shenzhen, China.  The ICT Competition was made possible through strong partnerships between Huawei and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology as well as the support from the College of Telecom and Information, King Saud University, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Technical and Vocational Training Corporation, TVTC, and Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University and the Chinese embassy in Saudi. Over 1,900 students registered for the competition in Saudi, which was open to more than 50 universities across the country. Ultimately, 6 students were chosen for the international final, from 6 different universities.

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