Barely three weeks after the launch of its latest flagship, Huawei P7 Ascend Smartphone, the President of Huawei, West African Region, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, Mr. Peng Song organized strategic engagement with its vendors and partners.
While outlining the company's strategies for West Africa in an exclusive interview with EMEKA AGINAM, he discussed many industry issues including several advantages of building Mobile Broadband networks for Africa as a good option.
On west Africa telecom industry
Huawei predicts a sustainable and stable growth in telecom industry. We also see mobile broadband to be better solutions for West Africa. That is why we are committed to building a better connected world for people in West Africa.
There are several advantages for building mobile broadband networks in Africa. First, fixed-line infrastructure in most African countries is limited and underdeveloped. According to ITU, fixed broadband penetration in Africa is only 0.3%.
Therefore, upgrading from existing fixed-line infrastructure will be more costly and less effective. Secondly, building mobile networks can significantly extend broadband coverage to people living in rural and underprivileged urban areas, because Mobile Broadband users are always connected wirelessly to fast, responsible, and reliable data network.
Third, constructing mobile broadband networks can make effective use of existing equipment and technologies, and therefore lower the cost of initial investment. Finally, mobile broadband enabled devices will be wmore affordable.
Performance in enterprise business
The revenue of Huawei enterprise business was 2.5 billion in 2013. Huawei achieved a 32.4% year on year growth globally.
In Nigeria, Huawei is deploying the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone (NICTIB) project for federal government. Huawei has successfully deployed e-libraries, e-classes and smart campus networks. Now Huawei is expanding the business with all industries. For instance, Huawei is working with banks to provide smarter mobile money solutions and data centers.
The company's strategy in enterprise business is to provide innovative, customized, and easily integrated products and solutions tailored to industries' particular needs. Huawei aims to achieve this by cooperating with local partners.
Nigeria as strategic market
Nigeria is Huawei's key market in terms of the big potential and strong consumption demand. We partner with operators to provide the consumers with Huawei phones and the company is now trying to build more channels to make Huawei phones easy to buy in shopping malls and electronic markets. Huawei is also trying to run its own store in West Africa. You will soon find some in this region.
Huawei launched its flagship product Huawei P7 in Nigeria recently and it shows Huawei's strategy of introducing more Smartphones to Nigeria to meet different demands in this market.
Huawei has been the top 3 Smartphone supplier on Shipment for the past 5 quarters worldwide and we are trying to be the top 3 player in Smartphone market in Nigeria in the near future.
Impact of ICT on the economy
Let me share two scenarios with you before I answer your question. The first one is in Nigeria. The farmer in rural Northern Nigeria used to spend hours to go to the town to check the prices of grains, vegetables and fruits in the market. Now what he needs to do is to call his friends in the market to check the prices and to find the best timing to sell his goods. Some of the farmers are surfing the internet to do business with buyers all over the world. Isn't it cool to be a modern farmer?
The second one happened in China. Taobao, a Chinese website for online shopping similar to eBay and Amazon, has its annual promotion day,every 11th of November. In 2011, it recorded sales revenue of 850 million USD. It increased to 3 billion USD. Can you guess the figure in 2013? It was 5.7 billion USD. Isn't that figure unbelievable?
ICT is changing our daily life. It changes the way we work, we buy, we sell, and we communicate.
It changes every industry. It connects this world in a smarter way. That's why we say we are global citizens living in the global village.
Huawei promises to grow with the local society by creating jobs, paying taxes and expanding local investment. CSR program is part of Huawei's promise of contributing to local society.
Besides the 1,000 girls training and ICT girls program, Huawei also set up an ICT scholarship in University of Lagos to support the cultivation of the talents. Huawei is soon to establish another ICT scholarship in the Africa University of Technology and Science in Abuja. Huawei is trying to bridging the digital divide and Huawei has done many CSR programs in Ghana, Cameroon and other countries in this region.
The challenge here is how Huawei should bring the innovative technologies, affordable solutions and dedicated services to Africa. There are still lots of things to do to improve the infrastructure. This is not just Huawei's challenge; but it is a challenge for all the players.
We aim to enlarge the ICT infrastructure to build a better connected Africa. Our core business here is consistent with our global strategy, which includes carrier business, enterprise business and consumer business.
We provide products for service providers to build their networks. We provide integrated solutions to the enterprise customers and provide devices, like smart phones, tablets and home devices to the consumers.
I am very optimistic about the economic growth in Africa. I believe technologies are going to play more important roles in this process. Huawei is committed to delivering innovative, affordable solutions and dedicated services to Africa.