Huawei betting on knowledge transfer, innovation to boost local ICT industry
Posted Thursday, April 5 2012 at 15:15
With rapid growth in ICT infrastructure technology companies must now focus on innovation and generation of local content to grow the industry.
China technology company, Huawei, is now betting on nurturing local talent and inspiring innovation to make maximum impact locally.
Huawei regional president for East and Southern Africa, Li Dafeng, told Nation.co.ke the company has gone big on staff localization to ensure business continuity and faster growth.
“The Nairobi office has 400 employees with 60 per cent being local staff…local people Kenya’s business culture which is very key for our success and there is assured business continuity,” said Mr Dafeng.
The company which has operated in Kenya for the past 14 years believes Kenya is a market that cannot be ignored due to its quick growth in ICT infrastructure and expansion in mobile telephony sector.
Mr Dafeng believes Kenya’s quest for industrialisation can be fast-tracked through increased innovation in ICT, especially mobile applications that have become the main drivers of business and life globally.
He said the Kenyans should get more innovative to benefit from the current technological revolution, adding that development of mobile applications has opened limitless opportunities for the tech-savvy.
“One of the key challenges we have faced is the retraining of fresh university graduates to orient them to the latest and emerging technologies not taught at the universities…the industry needs to work closely with training institutions to ensure churning out of relevant and demand-driven skills,” he said.
We need to spur innovation in ICT thus we need our youth to be equipped with marketable skills…Huawei through its global ‘ telecom seed for the future’ has partnered with Safaricom and three local Universities (Moi, Nairobi, and JKUAT) to ensure engineering students in Kenya are equipped with modern up to date skills to meet current need in telecom industry.
The MoU, signed in June 2011 entails agreement on Android Software application development, Internship/Industrial visit programs, academic curriculum reviews to meet current industry standards, training at Huawei HQ, universities and Training Center, offering expert trainers for the universities symposia and equipment donations.
Mr Dafeng said apart from partnering with the private sector to offer telecommunication solutions, it is working closely with the Kenyan government to expand ICT infrastructure in the rural areas.
Recently the company partnered with Mobicom to grow its retail outlets for its products including modems and mobile phones.
“Initially, Huawei focus was more on the telcos, but now we have more business groups such as carriers, enterprise and consumer.
As a change in our business strategy, we have therefore developed a channel targeting enterprise and consumer.
The partnership with Mobicom symbolizes a milestone of Huawei’s new strategy, a shift from business-focused to customer-oriented and a march into open channels that entail operators, resellers, and retails, increasing the accessibility of Huawei-branded smart devices in the mass market,” explained Mr Dafeng.
“We are in partnership with the Ministry of Information to impropve coverage of telco services in the rural areas. We have been deploying network equipment to ensure end users benefit from the latest mobile broadband trechnologies,” said Dafeng.
“Globally Huawei posted $33bn in profits last year emerging as the world number two telecommunication services provider…we moved our regional headquarter to Kenya last year since Kenya is becoming an undisputed ICT hub and potential for growth is high,” he said.
Mr Dafeng said Kenya now needs to encourage investors to concentrate more on local content and mobile apps development for maximum utilization of the existing Internet broadband.
“We must pay much attention to development of apps and local content…education and knowledge transfer is also very important to ensure a critical mass of skills to sustain the growing ICT industry,” he advised.