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Huawei investing $250m in global partner program

Huawei is banking on its partner program to the tune of $250 million to help deliver innovations across software, hardware, and systems, also announcing plans to have 24 OpenLabs by 2020.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Chinese networking giant Huawei has announced that it will invest $250 million in a new integrated partner program to bring independent software vendors, independent hardware vendors, systems integrators, and consulting partners on board.

The investment in the new Huawei Solution Partner Program includes $70 million to be spent on "co-marketing" with its partners, with Huawei to fund the technical, marketing, and sales resources needed for its partners to develop, construct, and market Huawei-based solutions.

The solution consolidates Huawei's previously separate programs run through its Enterprise, Products and Solutions, and Carrier business groups, which it said have attracted more than 1,000 partners, with over 100 of their solutions available in the new Huawei Marketplace.

The program also provides partners with access to its open labs for testing and development, and has also simplified the process by which companies can gain certification as a Huawei solution partner.

"By 2020, there will be 24 OpenLabs," Huawei added.

Speaking at the company's annual Huawei Connect conference in Shanghai on Thursday, Partners and Alliances Huawei president Albert Liu said that overall, it is aiming to assist companies during their digital transformation both directly and through its certified partners.

"Huawei follows a 'pipe strategy' in which the company focuses on the flow of data -- transmission, storage, distribution, and display," the company explained.

"Huawei builds business-driven ICT infrastructure; at the same time, it works with a trusted ecosystem of solution partners who make innovative use of the infrastructure. To support this ecosystem, Huawei remains committed to investing in partner enablement, training, and go-to-market success.

"The new Huawei Solution Partner Program will simplify how partners work with Huawei ... it helps partners better address customer needs, differentiate their solutions, and grow their businesses."

Earlier this week, Huawei also announced that it will invest $500 million in its cloud capabilities and infrastructure, including to develop cloud-focused professional services and a certification program, and to upgrade its Global Service Centres.

The new cloud strategy is likewise aimed at helping its customers "build, use, and manage" their cloud infrastructures through its enterprise services, which include support for digital platforms, business enablement, and smart operations.

"With the emergence of a 'cloud-only' era ... our services strategy centres on the concept of 'grow with the cloud' and becoming an industry cloud enabler," Huawei's president of Technical Services for the Enterprise Business Group Sun Maolu said.

Over the next five years, Huawei said it will increase its investment in industry cloud research and development by 50 percent, and deploy a new training program to provide cloud-specific skills with the goal of certifying over 150,000 professionals by 2021.

Huawei this week also revealed a new deal for strategic cooperation on cloud services with Microsoft, with Huawei Cloud BU and IT Product Line president Zheng Yelai saying the two companies will "build an open and win-win ecosystem".

Joint market expansion and marketing activities are also planned between Huawei and Microsoft.

"The two companies will initiate in-depth cooperation on the public cloud to provide the optimal experience of cloud services for enterprises and help enterprises implement digital transformation," Huawei said.

"Joint innovation by the two parties provide customers with trusted hosting and various enterprise applications as a service."

The news follows Huawei in April saying it was preparing to expand its public cloud offering outside of its home market of China, after setting up a new cloud business unit.

Huawei noted in its FY17 highlights that as of the end of 2016, it had delivered more than 420 cloud datacentres for government, utilities, telecommunications, energy, and finance companies; its financial cloud and big data infrastructure is now used by more than 300 financial companies globally; and that overall, it has worked with more than 500 partners on cloud computing solutions in more than 130 countries and regions.

Also unveiled during Huawei's conference was its new Kirin 970 chipset with built-in AI, with Huawei calling it the "future of smartphones".

The Kirin 970 mobile AI computing platform is powered by an 8-core CPU and a 12-core GPU, which Huawei said delivers 25x greater performance and 50x greater efficiency compared to a quad-core Cortex-A73 CPU cluster. It has a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU), and was built using a 10nm advanced process with 5.5 billion transistors contained in an area of just one square centimetre.

According to Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu, the company's mobile AI is made up of a combination of cloud AI and on-device AI.

Huawei has additionally provided the Kirin 970 as an open platform for mobile AI developers and partners.

"Huawei is committed to developing smart devices into intelligent devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices, and the cloud," Yu said.

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