On the fourth Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day in Bangkok. Co-hosted by Huawei Technologies and the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology, the theme of this year’s event is “Innovate for a Digital Asia-Pacific”. Nearly 300 attendees from governments, industry, and academia gathered together to explore how digital infrastructure accelerates the growth of digital economy, enriches life, drives innovation, and helps cultivate an ecosystem of shared success.
As one of the most vibrant emerging markets in the world, the Asia-Pacific region faces a tidal wave of industry digitization, with a digital economy that’s progressing by leaps and bounds every day. At the event, Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, delivered a keynote speech, in which he delved into Thailand’s strategy of “going digital” and how it is driving the transformation and modernization of the Thai economy.
ICT-enabled innovation is becoming an important engine of Thailand 4.0. The effects of digitization are spilling over into vertical industries, helping companies boost productivity, reduce costs, and roll out new products and services. This ultimately paves the way for new business models and markets, and brings new development opportunities to all.
Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak reaffirmed the Thai government’s commitment to create a favorable environment for digital innovation, stressing Huawei’s role as an important contributor to the development of Thailand’s ICT industry. He said that he would like to see more in-depth collaboration between Thailand and Huawei.
Mr. Guo Ping, Rotating Chairman of Huawei, followed with a keynote highlighting the importance of digital ecosystem. “Many economies in the Asia-Pacific region have set out on their digital transformation journey,” he said. “But growth has been uneven. The gap between developed and developing economies is widening, and we see the emergence of a Matthew effect where digitally advanced economies produce greater returns on their infrastructure than less-developed economies. However, we can work together to get ahead of this trend.”
He went on to liken a country’s digital needs to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. “Digital needs can be broken down into different layers: infrastructure, security assurance, industry digitization, and the development of a ‘digital brain’. The higher the level within the hierarchy, the more resources governments need to integrate across governmental departments, and the more industries and partners they need to work with.”
“Ecosystem is critical here,” he continued. “Governments need to take the lead, industries need to proactively do their part, and individuals need to work to improve their digital skills. Huawei is ready and willing to work with Asia-Pacific countries to build this digital ecosystem. We will collaborate openly and extensively, and happily share our own slice of the market with others. Together, we can grow the industry and make the pie bigger for everyone involved.”
Driving Digital Innovation and Research in Thailand
At today’s event, Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency and National Innovation Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Huawei Technologies (Thailand). The MoU outlines a series of joint research and innovation objectives aimed at stimulating Thailand’s digital transformation process and bringing Thai innovation to the global market. Specific initiatives include:
Developing deeper technological insights to advance the Thailand 4.0 agenda.
Strengthening communications and coordination throughout the innovation and planning processes, and enhancing collaboration in existing areas of cooperation.
Fostering a startup-friendly ecosystem in Thailand.
Promoting public-private collaboration and cultivating talent through Huawei’s OpenLab and Customer Solution Innovation & Integration Experience Center (CSIC).
Facilitating communication between scientists, scholars, innovators, and other researchers.
Conducting research into ICT basic theories.
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, and Huawei Rotating Chairman, Mr. Guo Ping, witnessed the signing of this strategic MoU together.
Cultivating the Digital Ecosystem in Asia-Pacific
Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day has become a high-end dialogue platform for key stakeholders in Southeast Asia’s digital ecosystem. This year’s event gathered top government officials in the region, including Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Science and Technology of Thailand; Mr. Mustafa Jabbar, Minister of Posts, Telecommunications & Information Technology of Bangladesh; Mr. Bounsaleumsay Khennavong, Vice Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Laos; and Dr. Kan Channmeta, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication of Cambodia. At an off-the-record roundtable following the event, they gathered to discuss the role of government in digital transformation and share best practices.
James Wu, President of Huawei’s Southeast Asia Region, took this opportunity to unveil Huawei’s Developer Enablement Plan for the region. The enablement plan aims to support digital economy and ecosystem building in the region.
Over the next three years, Huawei will invest US$81 million in building OpenLabs, enabling cloud developers, and cultivating ICT talent in the Southeast Asia region. “In particular,” said Wu, “Huawei aims to empower developers and young talent in Southeast Asia. We have over 30 years of ICT capabilities and experience. Through APIs and development platforms, we will open up our capabilities to our dev partners in the region. It’s a huge opportunity for developers to create targeted solutions for industry digitization and grow their own businesses. Working together, we can dream bigger and fly higher.”
According to Wu, Huawei will officially open an OpenLab in Delhi in August this year. This OpenLab, along with the one in Bangkok, will serve as open innovation platforms where Huawei joins forces with local partners to develop industry solutions for the region.
Wu also announced the 2018 Huawei Developer Challenge, which will officially go live on June 11. Huawei will hold a special competition in Southeast Asia to provide guidance to local developers. In addition, Huawei will sponsor developers who innovate on Huawei Cloud, and will present an award up to US$150,000 to developers who meet established requirements.
Regulation, Entrepreneurship, and ICT as an Economic Force
At the event, Professor Mirko Draca released The Evolving Role of ICT in the Economy on behalf of Huawei and the London School of Economics. According to the report, digital infrastructure investment will greatly boost productivity, and, in the next 10 to 15 years, people will be able to fully enjoy the benefits of 5G, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and AI. On average, ICT technologies generate substantially larger knowledge spillovers than other technologies. There is no evidence that AI will exert a huge impact on employment. Rather, economic recessions and their consequences will have a greater impact than AI.
Many speakers joined the event to share their ideas on building out the digital ecosystem. Specifically, they talked about policy and regulation, digital transformation of industries, AI unicorns, and how ICT will enable the development of future generations. Speakers include Ashish Narayan, Program Coordinator in the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Dr. Bundhit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; Mr. Hu Yannian, Deputy Director of Smart Weifang Construction Office; Victor Topoyossakul, Chief Commercial Officer at BSS Holding Company Limited; and Lv Hao, the Chief Innovation Officer at Yi Tu Technology.
Starting in 2013, Huawei Innovation Days have been held in London, Milan, Munich, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, and Sao Paulo. Huawei advocates openness, innovation, collaboration, and shared success, and is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.