Envision a better connected world

William Xu, Huawei’s Chief Strategy Marketing Officer

We believe that ICT technologies, particularly mobile broadband, cloud computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things, are reshaping the world and leading the next wave of sustainable social development. Today, ICT technologies have shifted from a support system that was designed to improve efficiency to a production system that drives value creation. Connectivity has become a new factor of production in addition to land, labor, capital, and technology.

Earlier this year, Huawei conducted a survey on the level of connectivity in 25 countries and across 10 industries. Countries covered in this survey included developed countries such as Germany, France, and the US, and emerging countries such as Russia, Chile, and Brazil. Industries included agriculture, education, and finance, among others. We have found that the level of connectivity has become an important measure that helps improve the competitiveness of countries. Take Chile in South America as an example. It ranks second worldwide and top in Latin America in terms of the level of connectivity. Chile is driving economic development by continuously increasing investment into ICT technologies. By implementing the "Chilecon Valley" project, Chile is rapidly establishing broadband infrastructure and encouraging innovation to concentrate a wide array of talent, technology, and business resources. Today, Chile has become the most innovative and vigorous region in Latin America.

As you may probably know, mining is the pillar industry in Chile's economy. Safety has become a challenge for Chile in its development of the mining industry. In 2013, an innovation team in Chile utilized innovative ICT technology to design a "life-saving jacket" for practitioners in the mining industry. A large number of sensors and network connections are embedded in the jacket. This wearable alerts workers to hazards in advance, such as exceedingly high concentrations of dust or poisonous gas, and allows them to receive various types of information. Such innovation significantly improves the production safety of the mining industry. This kind of innovation also provides more safety assurances for other special industries, such as firefighting. Local economic development also benefits from such innovation.

At the industry level, boundaries are constantly being eliminated. We believe that all enterprises will become Internet companies. Enterprises will provide products and services to their users based on information and data analysis. All enterprises, both traditional and high-tech, will lose in the future competition if they cannot benefit from a connected world, fail to innovate their business and transaction models by leveraging connectivity, or do not optimize their operations or marketing through the collection and analysis of user data.

Starbucks serves as a good example of companies in the traditional industry that have made the move to high-tech enablement. According to statistics, mobile payment channels of Starbucks in the US contributed more than US$1 billion in revenue in 2013, accounting for 14% of the total transaction amount of Starbucks stores. If Starbucks wanted to engage in the finance sector, it could quite possibly turn its outlets located on the street corners into banking outlets. This degree of technological enablement is a perfect example of value transformation as a result of embracing and seizing opportunities presented by connectivity. We can safely say that companies like Starbucks are winning the future by leveraging "better connectivity".

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