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Asia

Huawei opens four more enterprise vertical units

Huawei is drilling down further into enterprise with the formation of four new business teams to target emerging segments.

CEO and Founder Ren Zhengfei approved the establishment of the new, tightly focused groups in September, according to a Huawei document leaked to the domestic media.

The four areas are customs and ports, data center energy, smart highways and smart photovoltaics.

Executive order: Huawei's Ren Zhengfei has signed off on four new units covering customs and ports, data center energy, smart highways and smart photovoltaics.
  (Source: World Economic Forum on Flickr CC2.0)
Executive order: Huawei's Ren Zhengfei has signed off on four new units covering customs and ports, data center energy, smart highways and smart photovoltaics.
(Source: World Economic Forum on Flickr CC2.0)

The formation of the teams is yet another step in Huawei's pivot to enterprise and away from its traditional hardware business that requires advanced chips that it can no longer obtain.

Business as usual

Huawei's enterprise business unit may have been overshadowed by the dazzling growth of the consumer and carrier divisions, but it has increased revenue eleven-fold in the last decade.

It was the only unit to register significant growth in 2020, with sales up 23.5% to 100.5 billion yuan ($15.6 billion) – a serious scale business in its own right, selling solutions and technologies across a dozen verticals.

Recently, it has been making investments in major areas such as cloud, smart car and digital healthcare.

The latest initiative is focused on sub-vertical segments, with the four new teams intended to be agile cross-unit groups to target specific areas or solution sets. Ren, who is reportedly personally supervising the initiative, flagged up the idea in a recent internal speech made public.

He sees each team as a cross-departmental group that can move quickly and break through silos to get results. He said he learnt of the idea from Google, though didn't elaborate.

The first such team was formed in April, targeting China's huge coal mining sector. Among other things it has been deploying a 5G solution that enables remote mining, greatly improving efficiency and eliminating accidents.

IT crowd

The new business teams have some broad ICT capabilities to draw on.

For example, the data center energy team can deliver new architecture, O&M and power supply to cut electricity consumption, while the smart highway unit can offer an automated road toll solution already deployed 50,000 times and an intelligent twins function that can manage road networks.


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Huawei's ports technologies, such as remote-controlled cranes and container management, have already been implemented in major ports such as Tianjin and Ningbo.

But it is notable that, while Ren has stressed the need to tap global talent pools to remain competitive, that doesn't appear to apply to senior management. None of the four executives heading up the new units is even from outside the company.

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— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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