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Huawei’s 5G Integration Roadblock: A More Challenging Path Than Anticipated

At the Shanghai Mobile World Congress, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, revealed some surprising insights about the company’s experience integrating 5G technology into its business operations.

The primary expectation for 5G technology is that it will provide not only super-fast mobile connections for individual users but also streamline systems like self-driving vehicles and factory automation. But according to Meng, the realities of 5G integration into business have been significantly more challenging than anticipated.

Meng emphasized that the transition to 5G in business is quite distinct from previous transitions to 2G, 3G, or 4G generations. She stressed that it is only when 5G technology becomes an integral part of the ecosystem that it would be feasible to scale operations efficiently.

Speaking at a keynote session, Meng addressed the various advantages of 5G, spanning its potential impact on consumer behavior to economic benefits. The Chinese smartphone giant has been actively exploring ways to leverage cloud services for specific sectors like mining and finance.

In 2022, Huawei released financial figures for its cloud computing division for the first time, clocking an impressive revenue of 45.3 billion Chinese yuan (approximately $6.25 billion).

Winston Ma, renowned author of “The Digital War: How China’s Tech Power Shapes the Future of AI, Blockchain, and Cyberspace,” weighed in on the matter. He pointed out that the challenges faced in 5G adoption were not unique to specific regions or companies but were global issues.

Ma believes that the need to stay competitive might push Chinese companies to embrace and experiment with new 5G applications more readily. However, he also noted the inherent barriers present in many traditional industries, given their established ecosystems.

Last year, Huawei recorded its most substantial annual profit dip as a result of U.S. sanctions impacting its operations and the local economy grappling with Covid-19 control measures. Moreover, Huawei’s 5G operations have faced regulatory pushback from several countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Australia, which have banned the tech giant from their local 5G networks.

Despite these challenges, Meng, who holds multiple roles at Huawei including CFO, Deputy Chairwoman of Huawei’s board, and rotating chairwoman, maintains an optimistic view. Having returned to China in 2021 after nearly three years of detainment in Canada, she continues to spearhead the company’s efforts in navigating the tricky 5G landscape.

As Huawei and other telecom companies continue to chart the 5G landscape, the insights shared by Meng give a candid look at the complexities of integrating 5G technology into business operations. Her views are a reminder that while the road to 5G adoption may not be as smooth as expected, the potential rewards make it a journey worth undertaking for businesses across sectors.