With the recent expansion of its regional headquarters in Manama, leading ICT solutions provider Huawei has reaffirmed its engagement with both Bahrain and the region at large. The telecommunications equipment manufacturer’s long-standing commitment to cultivating Bahrain’s ICT talent was further cemented with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Bahrain Polytechnic in order to contribute network equipment to their IT lab.
The MoU was signed before an audience that contained many of the leading figures associated with Huawei’s presence in Bahrain, including:
H.E. Eng. Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Bahrain, H.E. Qizhenhong, Chinese Ambassador to Kingdom of Bahrain and Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board.
Paul Fengnan, CEO of Huawei Bahrain, commented: “Growing our presence in the Kingdom and expanding our close relationships with organizations such as Bahrain Polytechnic is a natural move for Huawei, and something we are deeply committed to. As the region continues to embrace the digital transformation, our expanded HQ and strong partnerships will bolster Bahrain’s strong position as an ICT Hub in the region, fostering more effective services for our customers.”
Often described as China’s most globally successful company, Huawei has maintained steady growth despite the fierce competition it faces in the global ICT industry. This achievement has come largely because of Huawei’s consistent focus on innovation that fosters both technological innovation and practically meets customers’ needs. Its increased investment in R&D, especially in researching future-oriented technologies such as 5th Generation mobile broadband, where it will invest at least USD$600 million in research of 5G technology by 2018, which has secured its rise as a global competitor.
Huawei annually invests an average of more than 10% of its total revenue into research and development, with the company maintaining a total of 15 R&D centers and 28 joint innovation centers worldwide. In 2015 alone, the company’s investments in R&D reached approximately USD$9.2 billion, accounting for roughly 15.1% of its annual sales revenue. Huawei has about 180,000 employees globally, of which approximately 45% are specialized in R&D. Huawei has joined some 170 standard organizations and open source organizations, holding more than 180 positions and filing over 5,000 standards.
Huawei began operations in Bahrain in 2004, working with high-end clients and partners such as local carriers, Bahrain Airport, Seef Properties and the University of Bahrain.
The company’s new regional headquarters in Seef occupies 33,906 sq. ft. and includes an advanced enterprise showroom demonstrating how Huawei’s new ICT solutions are tailored for various vertical sectors, a 3-cloud room for operators’ business success, and a fully-equipped training center.
For economic growth to flourish, building a strong digital infrastructure is undoubtedly necessary. According to Huawei’s 2016 Global Connectivity Index (GCI), which measured how 50 nations are progressing on the road to digital transformation, a one-point increase in national GCI rating correlates with a 2.1 increase in competitiveness, 2.2 percent rise in innovation, and 2.3 percent jump in productivity. Thanks to its increasing technological prowess, Bahrain has made clear gains in competitiveness, jumping from rank 43 in 2015 to 39 in 2016 in The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.
Today’s average Bahraini consumer is no stranger to the latest tech hardware, software, apps, and services. Mobile phone penetration is one of the highest in the world at 92.7 percent as of June 2016, up from 694,000 in 2010. Approximately 800,000 of the Bahrain’s 1.4 million people are Facebook users, reflecting their connectedness to all social media.
The decline in oil prices from June 2014, and the focus now on shifting away from a reliance on petrochemicals has put further pressure on businesses and government organizations to go digital, drive economies of scale, and seek new opportunities. Bahrain ranked 27th globally in the 2015 ICT Development Index, fifth for mobile broadband usage, eighth for Internet penetration, and third for government efficiency in providing ICT and online services, reflecting Bahrain’s highly active ICT sector and its role in driving business start-ups. According to H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, ICT is the enabler and a strong backbone for all economic sectors in Bahrain, be it financial, tourism, manufacturing.
Huawei Bahrain has played a major role in inspiring the ICT revolution in the nation, successfully integrating innovative solutions like the region’s first ever triple-beam antenna technology, which boosted online user experience and dealt with the high traffic from the 2016 Formula One Grand Prix held at the Bahrain International Circuit.2016 was a monumental year for Huawei and Bahrain’s strong and deepening partnership, with exciting engagement at BITEX and close cooperation between Huawei’s Bahrain office and the Bahraini government. Given the expansion of Huawei’s Bahraini footprint and its continual investments in Bahrain’s ICT talent and infrastructure, the partnership between the Kingdom and China’s leading global company will only continue to grow in importance.
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