“We have many pieces of the technology puzzle and now need to put these pieces together more horizontally.”
EqualOcean held an exclusive interview with William Genovese, Vice President of Corporate Strategy Planning for Banking and Financial Markets at Huawei. We discussed the status quo of the fintech industry, the promise of the new generation of wireless technology and how the Chinese electronics juggernaut is leveraging the latter to disrupt the former. Below are the key insights from our conversation.
In this chapter, we touch upon Huawei and 5G. Check out the rest of the interview:
“We at Huawei, obviously, do a lot of things. We have our own AI system-on-a-chip, which makes us one of the first companies to do that. We have the 5G networks, and we make our own servers and storage scale very well, and we have a consumer products division. But these are all the pieces that are sold in the marketplace to different target customers. For example, the phones are sold to consumers directly. We offer B2B by selling infrastructure to the industries directly, as well as B2C through our consumer division, and B2B2C through our Carrier division; Mobile Money is a great example of this.
“From a business model perspective and in a structural perspective, Huawei is not merely a technology integration company. From the device perspective, this year we are launching a credit card, which is very much like that of Apple. Google now is launching a debit card. Samsung just announced a partnership with SoFi. They are going to get into that space too. The whole purpose is to start building the ecosystem bubble around the consumers from the device. Companies have integration to back-end infrastructure and payment gateways standards.”
“Our advantage here is to build an open payment architecture. So that Huawei can go into any country, either through telco or traditional financial systems from the device. If a customer wants to use a Huawei phone or Huawei pay, they can combine the back end to traditional Union pay, Visa or Mastercard, whatever that works in the local country. Or the customer wants to have a mobile money solution to transfer money overseas, Huawei is capable of that as well. That is very much market-driven, and the relationship that Huawei has with suppliers and operators right now.”
“Our consumer division has been growing in double digit percentage growth year-on-year and we have moved from No. 4 in the world for mobile devices to No. 2. Huawei will not maintain this market position forever. In technology terms, Huawei has already passed the peak of smartphone usage. Smartphones have been around for 10 to 12 years, but if you look at every shift in our lives and how we as humans use technology, it's somewhere in the year of 2008 to 2012 where things shifted. We went from personal computers to laptops and then to smartphones.”
“Another trend is the devices are becoming miniaturized. The form factor is becoming smaller. Everybody had a PC in their home. Everybody had a laptop, and then a tablet, and now a smartphone. Twenty years from now, we are not going to have any device and we are going to consume content from any interface around us that we choose.
To enable this, ideally, you cannot always “hard-bind” the technology to a specific interface for hardware. It is the platform that is open and with open standards, and then the interface adapts to that. Any interface, which could be your bathroom mirror. And the manufactory has a blueprint based on the consumer's agreement to opt in for that type of device, and then the manufacturer adjusts to the standards in the platform and they provide the information.”
“From a technology perspective, Huawei is absolutely well-positioned, but it's not that simple. There are major superpowers in the world. They need to agree on standards, where it is not a national monopolistic situation. Everybody knows what is going on with 5G. There is discussion around the US and China cooperating on 5G standards though this is not going to solve the problem. What about all the other countries in the world? Then there is commercialization and competition. I personally do not believe or see the great decoupling where we have two or three Internets or different types of standards. We need to move to more open standards. We cannot operate on big islands of technologies that are walled gardens from each other.”