Huawei to invest $150 million in developing APAC’s digital talent

Shenzhen-based multinational company Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., plans to invest $150 million in digital talent development over the next five years through its Seeds for the Future Program 2.0. Announced Thursday, the program will benefit 3 million people in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines.

“We need more and more professional engineers and experts to take part in solar and other kinds of renewable [energy production],” said Bruce Li, managing director of Huawei Asia-Pacific Enterprise Digital Power Business, at the company’s technology and sustainability forum on Thursday.

The event also saw the virtual reveal of Huawei’s Digital Power Innovation and Experience Center in Shenzhen, where Mahesh Krishnarao Choudhary, senior expert at Huawei Digital Power, explained the greener information and communications technology (ICT) systems Huawei is developing for solar-powered homes, cars, and data centers.

Mr. Li zeroed in on the brainpower it will take to develop this kind of zero-carbon, sustainable society: “We need to continually promote education and research [for] sustainable housing development [in order to] provide high quality production.”

Jay Chen, vice-president of Huawei Asia Pacific, also laid out Huawei’s plan to cultivate over 40,000 ICT talents over the next five years through multiple programs, including Seeds for the Future. The Philippines, which has been the site of rainforest conservation programs and artificial intelligence (AI) for healthcare solutions which Huawei has supported in the past, will be part of the ICT talent cultivation plan as well.

“During the digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific countries, we found one of the big challenges is we have a shortage of the ICT talent,” he said, “We want to put more resources, more investments through these programs, online during the pandemic, and offline.”

The Seeds for the Future program, which began in Thailand in 2008, has benefited more than 5,000 students across the region. The second iteration widens its reach.

“Digital skills and literacy are not just the foundation for the digital economy; they are also a basic human right defined by the United Nations,” said Liang Hua, Huawei’s chairman, at the forum, citing a 2020 report by the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that shows about 2.2 billion people aged 25 years or younger lack access to the internet at home.

Hand-in-hand with providing digital skills access for many people is ensuring that they will contribute to the future of green development, said Mr. Hua. Huawei will leverage its expertise in power electronics, energy storage, 5G, cloud, and AI to provide solutions for various industries.

As of December 2020, Huawei’s digital power products and solutions have generated 325 billion kWh of electricity from renewable sources, and saved a total of 10 billion kWh of electricity, according to Mr. Hua. These efforts have resulted in a reduction of 160 million tons in CO2 emissions.

Added Mr. Chen: “We aim to leave no one behind [in] achieving the eco-friendly developments in the Asia-Pacific region.” — Bronte H. Lacsamana