We have pledged to raise the investment to $15 billion annually and are currently amongst the world’s top R&D spenders.
India has always been a very important market for Huawei, says Jim Xu, the company’s vice-president for Consumer Business Group. With an employee base of over 3,000, Huawei’s Bengaluru R&D centre plays a key role in the innovation taking place globally, both on a software and a hardware level. The company’s Mate 20 Pro smartphone features key contributions from the India R&D team, allowing for several localised Indian capabilities. “In the last couple of months, we have grown significantly in the Indian market and our products have resonated well with the consumers Our ambition is to make India the number one market outside China,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in an interview. Excerpts:
What sort of investments does Huawei pump into R&D initiatives?
We have established 16 research centres around the world. With over 15% investment of our annual revenue in R&D, we are committed to translating leading technologies into better products and solutions. We spent $13.23 billion on R&D in 2017, accounting for 14.9% of our total revenue. We have pledged to raise the investment to $15 billion annually and are currently amongst the world’s top R&D spenders.
How is this focus on innovation influencing Huawei’s newer devices, particularly the Mate 20 Pro that was launched recently in India?
With AI being a key focus area for us, a lot of research has gone into providing a true, AI enabled experience to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro this year. The smartphone is powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date – the Kirin 980. The industry-leading 7nm process technology of Kirin 980 generates direct performance upgrade of speed improvement and power efficiency. It offers a compelling combination of powerful AI, flagship performance, longer battery life, advanced security, a greater videography experience, and more—all wrapped in a sophisticated flowing design. It features key contributions from the Huawei India R&D team, allowing for several localised Indian capabilities.
What sort of innovations are taking place at the R&D centre in Bengaluru?
With an employee base of over 3,000, the Bengaluru R&D centre plays a huge role in the innovation taking place globally, both on a software and hardware level. In fact, our latest SoC, the Kirin 980 has also been developed taking inputs from Huawei engineers at the R&D Centre in India. We have tailormade some EMUI functionalities for Indian consumers and have introduced India-specific features such as language support (now increased to 22 languages), design of local calendar as per the Indian market amongst other market specific assimilations. Given consumer feedback, the India R&D has also enabled deeper integration for the Paytm app in the current operating system.
How critical is the India market for you to achieve your overall global targets?
The Indian market is unique, the telecommunication investments, competition environment, and the government regulations are very different from other markets, which is very promising. This is the reason we wanted to enter India at the right time with the right products. We are focusing on winning the customers’ heart rather than market share and we are customising our services to suit the need of the Indian consumer. Our ambition is to make India number one market outside China and we are focused on offering meaningful technologies that would enhance the user experience. In the last couple of months, we have grown significantly in the market.
Are you looking at expanding your product portfolio in the India market?
We have a broad product portfolio, including smartphones, multiple types of wearables, smart devices, among others, perfectly positioning us to become an end-to-end solution supplier and platform service provider. We are looking at expanding our product portfolio in the market and will soon be introducing our advanced product line including the AI Cube and Matebook series to the Indian consumer.