On Apr 16, 2019, Huawei held its Global Analyst Summit. XU Wenwei (徐文伟), the director and president of marketing of Huawei, attended the summit as the chairman of Huawei Strategy Institute. XU said that Huawei will invest USD 300 million per year to support the study of basic science, basic technology, and technology innovation.
XU said that previously, Huawei uses 1.0 innovation mode, which is the innovation in products, technology, and solutions. However, with the foundation of the Strategy Institute, Huawei will move to mode 2.0, which focuses on the breakthrough of basic theories and the invention of basic technology. According to XU, Huawei’s Strategy Institute will pay attention to the frontier technologies such as optical computing, NDA storage, atomic manufacturing, etc.
Huawei, as the Chinese technology company, has become the leader of global ICT infrastructures. However, according to REN Zhengfei (任正非), the founder and CEO of Huawei, the technology level of Huawei is still not enough. Currently, Huawei could innovate in terms of engineering mathematics and physical algorithm, but they haven’t entered the study of the basic theory. With the approaching of the limit of Shannon theorem and Moore’s Law, and with the absence of the knowledge about how to deal with the huge data with a lower delay, Huawei feels hard to find a developing direction.
REN Zhengfei emphasized that it is impossible to get an explosive innovation achievement without a breakthrough in theory and technology. Currently, Huawei is entering to the no-man’s land of technology and is responsible for the creation of the theory base. REN Zhengfei regards the Huawei itself as the biggest enemy of Huawei. REN believed that Huawei’s innovation is still in the engineering level and has already lost the direction. During the past decade, Huawei has invested more than CNY 480 billion in research and development. In 2018, that number was CNY 101.5 billion which occupied 14.1% of Huawei’s total revenue. Although Huawei invested a lot in the R & D, REN Zhengfei still believes that there’s a long way for Huawei to go.
According to XU Wenwei, both the theory world and the industrial world are facing a bottleneck. In terms of the theory bottleneck, the 5G time has already approached the limit of the Shannon theorem, and the development of ICT industry requires a new theory breakthrough. In terms of the engineering bottleneck, Moore’s Law used to promote the development of the ICT industry. Previously, the CPU performance improved 1.5 times every year, but recently, that number was decreased to 1.1 times.
XU believes that the basic abilities such as mathematics, chips designing, and materials are the most important fields that the Huawei Strategy Institute would study. In the next 5-10 years, Huawei Strategy Institute would guarantee that Huawei could develop in the right way instead of losing direction.
The Huawei Strategy Institute will have lots of cooperation with universities. XU Wenwei said that Huawei will invest USD 300 million every year in order to support this cooperation, among which USD 100 million will be specifically supporting the exploration of the frontier technology.