Huawei heralds ambitions in auto industry

By Shen Weiduo Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/3 21:30:46

Market is uncharted ocean with huge dividends, govt support

A Huawei logo on a paper bag in a store in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, as seen on Wednesday Photo: VCG

Huawei, the Chinese technology giant that has received much attention amid the ongoing China-US tech spat, has been in the spotlight again after reportedly establishing a smart-car solutions business unit that may help it realize its information and communication technology (ICT) layout in the future intelligent-car market.

The unit was approved by company founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, according to Chinese media reports, citing a widely circulated internal document.

The new unit will offer end-to-end smart mobility solutions including ICT equipment and solutions for smart cars, read the document, according to media reports. 

Huawei had not responded to an interview request by the Global Times as of press time. 

The move, which comes as the US government is intensifying a global ban on the company, is not a surprise to many industry insiders. They said that the company has long showed its ambition to enter the sector, although Huawei repeatedly said that it will not make cars itself.

They also forecast that the unit will become a core business for Huawei.

At the 2019 International Auto Key Tech Forum held in April, Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu delivered a keynote speech, saying that in the face of evolutionary changes in the auto industry, Huawei had made a strategic choice. "Huawei does not make cars." 

"Focusing on ICT, Huawei aims to enable car OEMs to build better vehicles," Xu said.

Xu said that the products Huawei will offer to car OEMs include mobile data centers, cloud services for autonomous driving, 4G/5G in-vehicle communication module, and Huawei HiCar people-car-home connectivity solutions for all scenarios.

Huawei has also been cooperating with a group of carmakers, including Audi, Volvo and Beijing Electric Vehicles.

Feng Shiming, a car analyst at Shanghai-based Menutor Consulting, told the Global Times on Monday that the future intelligent car market is an uncharted ocean with huge dividends and government support. 

According to media reports, the market for global electronic components in 2019 will be about $228.5 billion. The proportion of electronic components in auto parts is constantly increasing, and the market scale is expanding. However, the market is monopolized by international giants, and the global Top 10 automotive electronics suppliers account for 70 percent of the market. 

The domestic market is also monopolized by international giants such as Bosch and Continental, which will become Huawei's main competitors as the telecoms giant aims to become a first-tier supplier of electronic components in the vehicle market.

Industry analysts said Huawei could stand out. "Huawei has an advantage in the sector with its world-leading 5G technology, which is critical for intelligent car scenarios such as autonomous driving," Feng said.

Feng said that when Huawei's software abilities mature, "the possibility of Huawei making its own cars will exist, just like how Huawei started to make its phones." 

"Huawei's artificial intelligence chip is also capable of supporting it to realize its ambitions in the auto industry," an industry insider told the Global Times on Monday.


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