A trusted partnership for Europe’s connected future
Speech by Abraham Liu, Huawei Chief Representative to the EU Institutions and Vice-President European Region, delivered during the Public Debate in the European Parliament
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Good Evening Everyone.
Thank you for inviting Huawei to this debate in the European Parliament.
My name is Abraham Liu, I am Huawei’s Chief Representative to the European Institutions, and I am also one of the 96,700 employees who owns the company.
I have been with Huawei for nearly 20 years – 9 years in Africa, 6 years in the Asia Pacific region, and the last 2 years here in Europe.
I remember when I was in Africa, where connectivity was a major problem, one solution we provided was a simplified radio access network product, which was very well received by the operators because of its simplicity, affordable and low power consumption.
To my surprise, that product didn’t come from China – it came from a joint innovation of Huawei and Vodafone in Europe.
This product enabled hundreds of million more people to be connected. I am very proud of that.
Lack of connectivity not only exists in Africa, it also happens in some parts of Europe.
Imagine a remote, unconnected village in your country.
With connectivity arriving, it will enable people to use the internet to promote business, to carry out Air B&B type commerce, to sell local products online and, most importantly, to get connected with their family members outside the village.
This is something Huawei has been doing for the last 30 years, improving the quality of people’s everyday lives, and yes, we are very proud of it.
“Leave nobody behind” is what Europe is all about. And ensuring connectivity is what Huawei is all about!
Together with our customers, we bring business opportunities, provide better healthcare, better access to education and entertainment to every citizen.
But we provide another form of connectivity too:
- We enabled the world’s first 4G network in Oslo Norway in 2009, and we are working with European operators to deploy the first wave of super-fast and low-latency 5G networks.
- We further boosted awareness of the brand Leica – a leading iconic German company, to tens of millions of new customers globally;
- We partner with more than 150 European leading universities on fundamental research to strengthen Europe’s research leadership;
- We have three and a half thousand European companies in our supply chain. This creates a lot of investment, which in turn creates a lot of jobs.
- And we also helped the European Union of the Deaf to develop StorySign – a free app powered by Huawei AI that reads children's books and translates them into sign language. This can help 32 million deaf children worldwide.
And the list goes on...
Connectivity is an important issue that Europe is facing. But connectivity is not the only issue we would like to discuss today.
Huawei has been a trusted partner in Europe for 20 good years. We’ve grown up together.
But we know you still have questions about us.
So this is the most important reason why we have come to the European Parliament – to answer any questions you might have.
We also understand that new technologies create opportunities and changes, but changes come with uncertainty – and uncertainty can give rise to unease and anxiety.
As stated by the President-elect of the European Commission, we have to find a “European way”. Let’s do it together.
That’s exactly why we plan to work with all of you in partnership, to ease fears and create opportunities for Europe’s future.
Confidence in our ability to provide the most future-oriented technology for Europe is rooted in our long-term commitment to research and development.
Over the next five years, we are committed to investing over 90 billion Euros in research worldwide.
That’s almost five times NASA’s current total annual budget.
And we are fulfilling that commitment with European experts to focus high-performance computing and quantum computing – together with many other advanced technologies – through Huawei’s 23 research facilities across 14 countries in Europe, creating jobs and helping local economies.
These technologies are for European industry and will help Europe strengthen its advantage in these areas.
We recently announced that we are investing millions in Germany, Romania, France，Spain and the UK. And just last month we announced a 70 million Euro Research and Development investment in Ireland. Europe’s values of openness, innovation and the rule of law have made it a powerhouse in mobile communications – and Huawei shares these values.
Innovative companies and European operators have brought 2G, 3G, and 4G to European citizens and the world. The lifting of mobile roaming charges in 2017 not only benefits consumers, but also helps Europe’s competitiveness.
The introduction of the GDPR in 2018 is an excellent initiative that reinforces the core European value to protect the privacy of citizens. And the model applied in the GDPR can also be applied in cybersecurity, which means every company is trusted, but also verified. Europe’s digital future should be in its own hands. And we welcome Germany’s decision yesterday to adopt this model.
We believe these initiatives will help Europe continue to be a leader in the 5G era.
But leading in 5G is not just about the technology itself – it is more about the industry potential that will be enabled by 5G.
If we use a metaphor, 5G base stations are like trees, but the potential released by 5G is like a forest.
And here we have something special to offer Europe:
The most advanced technologies that can be used to connect the continent and enable Europe to lead the fourth industrial revolution.
To use another metaphor: just like a bicycle, one wheel is European Industry, and the other is the mobile technology provided by the mobile industry of which Huawei is a part. Only by combining two wheels together can Europe’s Digital Sovereignty truly move forward. We know that a unicycle will never win the Tour de France.
Ladies and gentlemen, my 17 years’ overseas experience has shown me that not every country has the same culture and values.
During my time in Europe, I’ve been most impressed by the European values of openness, and the advocacy of multilateralism (an alliance of many countries pursuing a common goal) which is a cornerstone in this challenging geo-politico environment.
Globally, we all need to work together in supporting this alliance in order to reduce future uncertainty and to keep the global political and economic system up to date.
In Chinese, we have a saying called 求同存异 (Qiu Tong Cun Yi) which means:
Seek common ground while preserving differences. This is in line with the European Union’s own motto: United in Diversity.
Thank you all for listening, and now I’d like to take the next hour to answer your questions.