Shared Responsibility for a Shared Future

Shared Responsibility for a Shared Future

Catherine Chen, Huawei, during the Better World Summit

How would you describe your life in 2020? Different? Hard? Or hopeful?

COVID-19 has significantly changed the way we work and live. But we still see doctors doing everything they can to save lives, students learning online, office employees working from home, ballet dancers practicing hard, and musicians playing instruments from their balconies Adversity will never stop us from pursuing a better future, and we will always stay positive and creative. We truly believe we can create a brighter future, together.

Over the past 30 years, there has been a great leap in the development of information technologies. Mobile communications, the Internet, and high-speed broadband have improved our lives, work, and economies in many ways.

However, COVID-19 has been a stern reminder that we are still not doing enough. The current foundation of development is not as strong as we might think. According to ITU, over half of the world’s population is still offline and has no access to digital technology. Children in remote areas have been unable to join online classes during the pandemic. National economies have also been badly hit, with unemployment at the highest levels since the Great Depression. 

We envision a more connected, intelligent, and innovative future. Above all else, we must ensure this is an inclusive, sustainable, and better future by all, for all.

To achieve that future, we need top-down designs, as well as bottom-up creativity and vitality. As the threat of COVID-19 gradually decreases, economic activity is returning to normal.

China has kicked off its New Infrastructure plan, which covers projects on 5G, AI, data centers, and industrial Internet. In 5G alone, the plan will support the deployment of 800,000 base stations in 2020. Over the next five years, more than 140 billion dollars will be invested in 5G. This is set to drive the growth of China’s digital economy by more than 2 trillion dollars and boost the country’s economic recovery.

The EU has also announced a 1.1-trillion-euro package to enhance economic recovery.

Trade and investment policies are vital to economic recovery and employment. We welcome the efforts by the European Commission to review trade policies, drive open and rule-based trade, and promote free and fair trade across the EU and around the world. In particular, the EU will create fair trade opportunities for SMEs worldwide, and maximize the impact of trade policies on sustainable development and digital transformation.

To drive the digital economy and the rollout of digital infrastructure, regulators in many countries have released supporting policies for industries. To support 5G rollout, Germany has developed guidelines that open up urban facilities to 5G sites. In Vienna, the government offers 27,000 euros in subsidies for each 5G site, encouraging 5G rollout and services. The UK is also promoting fiber broadband. They have amended existing laws to ensure there is fiber access in all new buildings. Such policies are very helpful for infrastructure development and thus economic recovery across all sectors.

To revive the economy, we need top-down designs, as well as bottom-up creativity and vitality. Supporting government policies coupled with active digital transformation across the industry will bring the benefits of digital technology to all industries, boost their efficiency, and restore growth.

Every industry must work hard to transform digitally because digital technology can bring huge benefits in efficiency and renewed growth.

During the pandemic, the healthcare industry has worked closely with the ICT industry. At a time when doctors are limited, our AI-assisted CT scan solution greatly increases the speed of diagnoses.

Another example is from the logistics sector. The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, which is the world’s busiest cargo port, uses 5G to remotely control/ bridge cranes. This allows containers to be moved more quickly and creates a safer working environment.

In the electricity industry, the combination of AI and drones can be used for powerline inspections without people on-site. In the case of China Southern Power Grid, this solution has increased inspection efficiency by 80 times.

As digital technology becomes more widely used across industries, and digital technology and ICT infrastructure become critical, many countries are very concerned about digital sovereignty. The EU responded first by reviewing digital sovereignty rules. We greatly support their rule-based approach to digital sovereignty, and we are ready to contribute in this area.

A recent World Bank report highlights the huge gap between the fast-growing global digital economy and a lack of digital skills. In response, Huawei continues to carry out its flagship Seeds for the Future program. This program was launched in 2008 and intends to develop local ICT talent, enhance knowledge sharing, and promote a greater understanding of and interest in the ICT industry. It also encourages countries across different regions to build digital communities.

So far, this program has benefited more than 30,000 students from over 400 universities in 108 countries and regions. Due to the pandemic, we are moving the program online and opening it up to more students than ever before. Through Seeds for the Future, we aim to bring digital skills to more people.

As more industries adopt digital technology, they will drive the 2030 SDGs of the United Nations, especially in terms of climate change. According to a 2019 report by GSMA, ICT can enable significant energy saving and emissions reduction in many industries, such as transportation, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing.

ICT will also be key to achieving the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Now we are on track to building a better future together, where no one will be left behind, and everyone can enjoy the benefits of technology. 

Where every industry will be smarter, greener, and more efficient.

Where the world will be a better place for all.

This is the future we should be committed to. Let’s work together to make it a reality!

Catherine Chen, Huawei Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board.