Shenzhen-based tech giant Huawei is convening a three-day conference on intelligent finance in Singapore this week, giving the firm a chance to showcase its recent progress in the field.
Founded in 1987 to serve China’s rising need for telecommunications infrastructure, Huawei has since expanded into a diverse range of sectors, including consumer electronics, semiconductors, cloud computing, and AI.
Financial services represent another new arena. “Right now we are serving more than 2,000 [enterprise] customers across more than 60 countries or regions, including 49 of the top 100 banks,” said Jason Cao, CEO of Huawei Digital Finance, during a media roundtable on Wednesday.
This year’s conference – the 10th annual edition and themed “Shaping Smarter, Greener Finance Together” – is also the first time it has been held outside of China, a fact that is representative of the firm’s increasingly global orientation.
In the context of heightening geopolitical tensions, previous efforts at expanding overseas have resulted in high-profile dilemmas for Huawei. The firm was hit with crippling sanctions by US regulators following allegations it had sidestepped restrictions on trade with Iran, leading to a drawn-out legal battle involving Meng Wanzhou, firm CFO and daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.
The impact of sanctions instigated a period of considerable transformation for Huawei, which has steered away from its once thriving smartphone operations in favor of its enterprise business, cloud computing, and even automobiles.
Huawei is also broadening its intelligent finance offerings. In response to a question by Pandaily regarding the firm’s plans to expand such services internationally, Jason Cao said that Huawei looks primarily to two groups.
“The first type of customers are traditional banks. They have experienced very large pressures or motivations to go digital,” Cao said. “And that’s because the customers’ behaviors are changing as well.”
“The second type of customers are areas or regions that do not have prevalent financial services, such as Africa,” the executive said, adding that going forward, Huawei will seek to expand its operations in this field with a focus in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Significant headway has already been achieved. At last year’s summit, Huawei announced a new partnership with leading Swiss financial software company Temenos, “[bringing] together the extensive cloud hosting, implementation, and integration strengths of Huawei and the power of Temenos’ industry leading banking software.”
Despite its size, Huawei remains a privately-held company. Last year, it posted its first publicly reported annual decline in revenue, totaling 636.8 billion yuan for a 28.5% year-on-year slide. Meanwhile, profits surged 75.9% year-on-year to 113.7 yuan.