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Huawei gets cozy with the Kiwis

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Huawei has formalised its investment plans in New Zealand after a meeting between CEO Ren Zhengfei and the country’s Prime Minister Bill English.

During the meeting, the pair discussing ICT infrastructure build-out and digital transformation, as well as Huawei’s R&D plans for the country, which will focus on the use of big data, and how to maximize the potential of the Internet of Things through future technologies such as 5G. As part of the initiative, Huawei will open an Innovation Lab at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017, as well as another at a future date in Christchurch.

“New Zealand’s open and fair trade environment, and its emphasis on developing new technology, facilitates our ongoing commitment,” said Ren. “New Zealand has rich tourism resources, and highly developed agricultural and trade sectors.

“Digital transformation empowered by advanced ICT technology can enable New Zealand to become better connected with the world, and transform its traditional strengths into driving forces of economic growth.”

Alongside the innovation labs, Huawei will also build a data-centre in the country, which could be nothing or something. A business such as Huawei will have various data centres around the world to support its own operations, however there have constantly been quiet whispers about whether the network infrastructure giant would enter into the public cloud segment.

Last year, at the inaugural Huawei Connect event run by the Enterprise Business Group, there were numerous questions as to whether the organization was going to enter into the public cloud arena. The business does in fact already have a public cloud business, exclusive to its domestic Chinese market, however at the same conference the team launched its ‘Industrial Cloud’ offering.

Here, it would partner with various companies to launch industry-specific cloud products directly to enterprise organizations, ESI in the manufacturing industry is a good example. At the time, it seemed like a white-labelled public cloud proposition which led to numerous questions whether this was a step towards the public cloud segment. All were very strongly denied, but that was then and this is now.

Huawei’s operations don’t appear to be massive in New Zealand currently, which questions whether the significant investment to build its own data centre in the country is justified. Maybe the team has a bit of diversification in mind…

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