Blog by Hudson Liu
On my way to Sydney on a Qantas flight, I watched the movie Green Book again. I like this movie. But why did I see it again? I think it’s possible that I’ve incorporated my new responsibility or Huawei Australia, into the role of Don Shirley, an African-American pianist.
Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, once said in a CNN interview: “When we expanded into overseas markets, some people said we were communists. Then, when we returned to China, other people said we were capitalists. We don’t know whether we are communists or capitalists, and we don’t waste time trying to explain who we are.” This is similar to the classic line of Shirley in the movie! “So I am not black enough, and if I am not white enough, then what am I?”
Huawei has proudly served Australia for 15 years. Together with our customers and partners, Huawei has built high-speed 3G/4G networks for the Australian people, provided reliable communication networks for the Sydney Trains, water-saving solutions for Southeast Water, and high-performance computing equipment for universities. Over the past 15 years, there has never been a cyber-security incident in Huawei’s networks.
However, just like how Shirley was banned from hotels, toilets and restaurants, again and again, Huawei has been suspected, discriminated against, and banned. In 2012, Huawei was banned from participating in the NBN. In August 2018, Huawei was banned from participating in 5G builds. The TSSR review mechanism implemented in September 2018 requires lengthy approval process for customers who use Huawei network equipment.
What has Huawei done wrong? Is it just because Huawei is a Chinese company. However, China is just another country which has different political systems, cultures and religion from Australia. But we also share common values, we believe that innovative technologies can benefit the society – that free and fair competition will promote and progress the market. We all pursue hard work and a happy life for our families and communities. As Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir said in an interview with the South China Morning Post, “When China was poor, we were frightened of China. When China is rich, we are also frightened of China. I think we have to find some way to deal with China. We always say, we have had China as a neighbour for 2,000 years, we were never conquered by them.” So what is Australia afraid of?
I understand the strategic alliance between Australia and the United States since World War II. I realize Huawei is a small sesame seed in China-US trade negotiations. I feel that Australians are generally not familiar with China or Huawei, and some even have a prejudice. This is the “big trend” that we know. So, in the face of this “big trend”, should Huawei give up, should Huawei be angry and complain? I think we should learn from Shirley, “Maintain your dignity. Dignity always prevails”. I feel that Huawei should do what Shirley did, touring in the southern parts of the United States, “Because being genius is not enough, it takes courage to change people’s hearts”.
In the best seller book Micro trends by American Mark Penn, it said “The nation is no longer a melting pot. We are a collection of communities with many individual tastes and lifestyles. Those who recognize these emerging groups will prosper.” Those few but dynamic new groups are playing a major role in social development, and those seemingly nuanced developments are determining huge social changes.
Huawei cannot change the “big trends” in Australia. However, we want to make a real contribution to communities in Australia through our efforts and change people’s perception of Huawei through “Microtrends”, one after another.
We can provide a better NBN. As I realised while flying here, Australia has a vast expanse. Optical fibre home broadband costs are too high and it takes too long to deploy it. Copper-line home broadband is too slow. Currently, 5G technologies can achieve ultra-high-speed network connection. Both in cities and in rural areas, people can enjoy Full HD and 4K video streaming through 5G broadband access. VR and AR will also be possible. Huawei is the leader in the 5G industry and can work with carriers to build a network with the best quality and lowest cost.
The network is not only connecting people, but also Things. Through research and application of IoT technologies, we can protect our environment in a more timely and effective manner. For example, Huawei’s IoT project with JCU University aims to better protect the Great Barrier Reef. In addition, IoT is widely used in Australia’s agriculture and animal husbandry.
But connectivity is not just about technology it’s about connecting people. For example by using the AI technology, Huawei’s mobile phone APP StorySign can translate children’s books into sign language to help deaf children learn how to read. Opening new and exciting opportunities that are very personal and far reaching to those families.
Most people would not know that Huawei not only provides communications networks, but we also integrate more than 30 years of digital technologies, Internet technologies, and solar technologies to provide simple, efficient, intelligent, and reliable solar systems, allowing more people to use clean energy to benefit future generations.
As I start my new journey as the Australian CEO I want to welcome friends from Australia’s political, business, academia, and media outlets to visit Huawei and communicate with Huawei managers, employees, and partners. Only through transparency can we win trust and understanding. I know we are willing to establish cyber security labs with Australian regulators based on the UK and EU models. I believe that Australia has sufficient capabilities to manage cyber security risks through testing and verification.
Focusing on the customer has been at the heart of Huawei’s global & local success, without our customers we have no business. Focusing on customer requirements is the way we have succeeded. For Huawei, to continue to succeed we need to keep providing more advanced products and better-quality services and to continue to win customers’ trust and support. We believe that these “Microtrends”, one after another, will eventually bring change.
The views expressed in this blog are the personal views of the author