Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director & Senior Vice President of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, Middle Eastby Nabilah Annuar
Huawei has always been known for its mobile devices. Tell us more about how the company has evolved to serve other market sectors.
When many people think of Huawei, they think connections, whether that is our heritage in telecommunications infrastructure or our popular smart devices. In fact, we have been investing in connectivity for the past 30 years.
With integrated solutions across four key domains—telecom networks, information technology (IT), smart devices, and cloud services—we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home, and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world.
Huawei continues to enhance its information and communications technology (ICT) portfolio across multiple domains. This includes cloud, artficial intelligence (AI), campus networks, data centres, the internet of things (IoT) and intelligent computing.
We remain a trusted partner for customers in various industry sectors such as finance, transportation, energy, and more. Globally, 228 Fortune Global 500 Companies have chosen Huawei as their digital transformation partner.
How does Huawei aim to serve the financial services industry?
Huawei is providing more than infrastructure boxes to its financial service customers. Huawei would like to share more of an understanding and methodology of digital banking. The banks in our region are going through a remarkable change and challenges right now—and will over the next 10 years.
That is due to the rise of digital banking and new business models which specialists call Banking 4.0. Huawei’s value proposition is to help banks be ready for the digital banking era through our comprehensive technology solutions and our software partners, who offer digital core and product systems.
Banks ultimately make money from their products through specific channels. Banks are always thinking about how to expand these channels and optimise their products to be more attractive to customers. Banking 4.0 has the answer.
Through the digital approach, banks can greatly expand their channels through apps and a new digital ecosystem. A bank may acquire its customers through UberEats or Costa, for example, as many e-wallet applications do. It’s a new kind of embedded banking; embedded into every corner of our life, brought to life together with numerous ecosystem partners.
Moreover, digital banking enables financial institutions to be nearer to their customers in order to adjust and design products in a better way. Consumer behaviour and feedback, for example, is recorded in most banking apps. Banks can now use advanced data analytics tools like Huawei Gauss DB to harness this insight and guide the next phase of their product development.
What edge does Huawei have in digital banking?
It’s not only Huawei—it’s us and our software partners. Huawei has established a very comprehensive and effective digital banking ecosystem including business designs, products, security and more.
Huawei and our partners have already gone through the prosperity of digital banking in China and are now contributing to the quick development of digital banking in other territories. These experiences have been incredibly valuable to Huawei. Instead of just offering technology solutions, Huawei and our partners offer new business designs and business models, which are proved by real practise.
Apart from the Middle East, which other financial markets does Huawei currently serve?
Huawei’s strategy is to deeply cooperate with banks with a great ambition to change and be innovative. One example is DBS Bank in Singapore. They have launched a digital transformation plan in 2013 and reforms to the business’s IT in all aspects.
DBS is very innovative. It has been cooperating with Huawei for almost four years, inviting Huawei to be the supplier for its internet protocol (IP) network, storage, and virtualisation platform, and has recently purchased the Dorado high-end storage from Huawei. Another example is Sberbank in Russia. Sberbank’s strategy is to ensure the ability to compete with global technology companies while remaining the best bank for customers and businesses.
In other words, they want to be a technology company. Sberbank started a cooperation with Huawei in 2012. Now Huawei is one of the main suppliers for its IP network, storage, and servers. In 2018, we established a joint innovation centre to develop solutions in innovative areas including advanced reduced instruction set computing (RISC) machine (ARM) servers, ficial intelligence, and others.
Huawei is also very successful in financial markets in Western Europe. Crédit Agricole and BPCE from France, Santander Bank from Spain, Generali Insurance and BPM bank from Italy, are all Huawei customers.
Apart from these geographies, Huawei still has a [long] way to go in the Middle East financial market. We are thus placing greater efforts in introducing ourselves to local customers and letting them know of our unique value proposition.
What are your plans for the region this year?
In 2020, a highly connected and intelligent world will no longer be an abstract idea. It will be a reality that transforms industries and improves health and human lives. To that end, Huawei Enterprise recently launched our Huawei Horizon Digital Platform.
This converged, open, and efficient platform was built on our extensive technological experience. With it, we are better able to work with customers and partners to build a foundation for the digital world.
This year, we will also be introducing new intelligent campus solutions under the HiCampus umbrella, and intelligent data centre solutions, HiDC, as part of this Horizon Digital Platform. Such solutions integrate technologies such as AI, machine learning, and IoT to help enterprises reduce the complexity of their IT systems and build a future where everything connects.
We will also continue to enhance the development of Huawei Wi-Fi 6, powered by 5G technology that will enable significant advancement in the application, network, and coverage of enterprise campuses.
In addition, we will continue to focus on our new-generation of AI-powered OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage, designed for mission critical enterprise systems such as those found in the banking world. In short, the global financial services industry is undergoing unprecedented changes, bringing many opportunities to the foreground.
Throughout 2020, we will continue to develop and enhance our smart finance solutions along with our partners to support business innovation in the region.
What is your outlook on current market conditions?
Over the last few years, digital transformation has become an industry megatrend. Enterprises are using ICT technology to improve working efficiency, create business innovations, and provide better customer service.
The arrival of the digital society provides exciting new opportunities for all industries to grow and develop. Emerging technologies such as AI, cloud, big data, and IoT, will underpin and accelerate digital transformation in these industries— especially in banking.
The Middle East is already a pioneer in the ICT field and remains a very important market for Huawei globally. We are committed to leveraging cutting-edge digital technology to bring more convenience to people's lives and drive economic growth in the Middle East.