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September 16, 2014

Huawei vies for cloud transparency and trust

Analysis: Questions answered about its US business. Where is it?

By Ben Sullivan

Huawei, the Chinese networking, IT, and devices firm, decided to focus on trust and technology openness at its Cloud Congress in Shanghai, China. The firm also answered questions about its US business.

Eric Xu, rotating CEO of Huawei, said: "openness is a must". We cannot repeat the old propriety approach."

When quizzed about US relations and Huawei’s relatively small enterprise business in that market, William Xu, Huawei board member and chief strategy marketer, said: "The US market is big and it is important. But for Huawei, the global market is bigger than the US. If we look at the telcommunications sector, Huawei market share is very small, but it is not a hinderence. If you look at the Chinese and EU markets, the total volume is very big compared to US."

When asked if there was any irony related to US accusations against Huawei and US spying, Xu declined to answer directly.

Huawei has faced carrier sanctions in the US which blocked its entry into the US market.

Speaking to a media briefing at the congress, Raymond Lau, president of partners at Huawei, said: "Right now we have more thab 100 business partners in US enterprise market. We have some progress there, but [the enterprise] is [not as sensitive a] market. "We are doing well in education, retail, distribution."

Huawei philosophy

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In a keynote address Xu said: "IT is no longer a supporting system, but is a part of the production system. It’s becoming the engine in the transformation of upgrading traditional industries. Huawei’s IT strategy is clear. We want to the be the enabler. We want to become the leader. Without cloud computing, Huawei wouldn’t have invested in IT."

When talking about FusionSphere, Huawei’s rebranded Cloud operating system, Xu said: "Cloud OS is the core of realising that target. Huawei is committed to open source around OpenStack. We also want to collaborate with the industry to realise our targets.

"Positioned as a trusted provider, Huawei will firmly join hands with our partners to deliver solutions that address the needs of customers. Huawei aims to become an IT vendor recognised by enterprises and telecom operators for our innovative, differentiated and industry-leading products and solutions."

Huawei unveiled a new service driven-distributed cloud data centre today, an open model which is interoparable with products from third-party vendors.

But it’s not all about competition, Xu was very keen to reiterate.

"We actually have an open platform, we can run SAP and Oracle databases on our platform. So there is both collaboration and competition in this industry.

"Open collaboration and competition can co-exist."

Partner perspective

SAP’s Anthony Reynolds, global head for technology partners, said there is a healthy relationship in terms of the marriage with Huawei.

"It’s a truly good fit. SAP is an app vendor, we partner with a lot of global technology firms. In some areas there is competition and in some there is collaboration. The focus areas around big data, mobile, and Internet of Things are the next generation of opportunities.

"For us it’s an easy match, it’s very natural."

However, Huawei’s Raymond couldn’t come up with an answer when asked why channel partner numbers have remained low in the UK and Europe in generally despite optimistic hopes by Huawei two to three years ago.

Raymond said: "Huawei is still learning a lot. We need a program, and to identify the right partners. There needs to be training programs in place, after a couple of years I think we are much more ready now."

Huawei currently has nearly 10,000 partners in China, but only 2,000 across the rest of the globe.



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