Chinese tech and telecom giant Huawei has announced a significant strategic shift towards artificial intelligence (AI), marking the first change in its focus in about a decade. The company had previously emphasized cloud computing and intellectual property over two consecutive ten-year periods. Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s rotating chairwoman and chief financial officer, made this announcement during an event in Shanghai.
Huawei’s new strategic direction, known as the “All Intelligence” strategy, aims to harness the potential of AI in various industries. Meng stated that Huawei is committed to establishing a robust computing infrastructure for China and offering another AI computing option for the global market. However, specific details about their AI initiatives were not provided in the announcement.
This move by Huawei follows a similar decision by another Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, to prioritize AI, which was announced earlier in the month. Additionally, companies like Japan’s SoftBank have long expressed their intent to focus more on AI, with a growing number of businesses showing interest in AI technologies such as GPT-4.
Meng Wanzhou’s return to China in September 2021, after nearly three years of house arrest in Canada due to extradition charges related to bank fraud and evasion of economic sanctions against Iran, has coincided with her leadership role in Huawei’s strategic shift. She is expected to serve as the rotating chairperson for six months.
In a separate development, China’s Ministry of State Security made allegations against the United States on the same day as Huawei’s strategic update. The Chinese ministry claimed that the US had infiltrated Huawei servers nearly 15 years ago, accusing US intelligence services of conducting surveillance, data theft, and cyberattacks against various countries, including China. Huawei declined to comment on these allegations, and the US National Security Agency (NSA) did not immediately respond.
Huawei has long faced allegations of spying and network vulnerabilities, which have led to trade restrictions and export controls imposed by the US. Despite these challenges, Huawei recently launched the Mate 60 Pro, a flagship smartphone that includes a 5G chip, raising questions about its ability to navigate US export controls and technology restrictions.
These developments underscore Huawei’s evolving strategic focus on AI and its ongoing challenges related to international scrutiny and allegations of espionage.
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