Huawei wants to go all-in on AI in its first strategy update in a decade, says Meng Wanzhou

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Huawei has joined the list of companies that want to focus solely on artificial intelligence.

For the first time in a decade, the Chinese technology and telecommunications giant announced its new strategic direction on Wednesday, saying it would now focus on AI. Previously, the company had prioritized cloud computing and intellectual property over periods of two decades, respectively.

Meng Wanzhou, rotating chairwoman and chief financial officer of Huawei, made the announcement in Shanghai at a corporate event.

“As artificial intelligence gains momentum and its impact on industry continues to grow, Huawei’s All Intelligence strategy is designed to help all industries make the most of new strategic opportunities,” said the company in a press release.

Meng said in a speech that Huawei was “committed to building a strong IT foundation for China – and another option for the world.”

“Our ultimate goal is to help meet the diverse AI computing needs of different industries,” she added, without providing details.

Huawei’s move follows a similar move by Chinese tech giant Alibaba (BABA), announced earlier this month, to prioritize AI.

Other companies, such as Japan’s SoftBank, have also long stated their intention to focus more on this rapidly evolving technology, and more companies have jumped on the bandwagon this year due to the The enthusiasm generated by platforms such as GPT-4.

Meng returned to China in September 2021 after spending nearly three years under house arrest in Canada amid an extradition battle with the United States. She and Huawei had been charged with alleged bank fraud and evading economic sanctions against Iran.

The executive, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was able to resign after reaching a deal with the US Department of Justice and ultimately having her charges dismissed.

Meng began her role as rotating chairwoman of the company in April and is expected to stay in the role for six months.

News of Huawei’s strategic update came on the same day the company was mentioned in allegations filed by China against the United States.

In a statement published Wednesday on the Chinese social network WeChat, the Chinese Ministry of State Security accused Washington of having infiltrated Huawei’s servers almost 15 years ago.

“Using its powerful arsenal of cyberattacks, US intelligence services have carried out surveillance operations, secret theft and cyberattacks against many countries around the world, including China, in various ways,” the ministry said. .

He alleged that the US National Security Agency (NSA), in particular, had “repeatedly carried out systematic and platform-based attacks against China with the aim of stealing important data assets from China” .

Huawei declined to comment on the allegations, while the NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of normal US business hours.

The claims are particularly notable because U.S. authorities have long suspected the company of spying on the networks its technology operates, using them as a reason to restrict trade with the company. Huawei has vehemently denied the claims, saying it operates independently of the Chinese government.

In 2019, Huawei was added to the US “entity list” which restricts exports to certain organizations without a license from the US government. The following year, the U.S. government expanded those restrictions as it sought to cut Huawei off from chip suppliers that use U.S. technology.

In recent weeks, Huawei has further escalated tensions between the United States and China after launching a new smartphone that represents an apparent technological breakthrough.

Huawei launched the Mate 60 Pro, its latest flagship device, last month, sparking a US investigation. Analysts who reviewed the phone said it included a 5G chip, suggesting Huawei may have found a way around U.S. export controls.

—Mengchen Zhang contributed to this report.


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