Huawei founder visits top Chinese universities on talent quest

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/22 21:43:02

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei speaks at the Congress center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on Tuesday. Ren said the company is "confident" that it can "survive even further attacks" in 2020. Photo: AFP

Graphics: GT


Ren Zhengfei, founder of the technology giant Huawei, visited China's prestigious Peking University, seeking to deepen Huawei's cooperation with top institutions in China for talent, and saying he is hopeful the company will see more original and groundbreaking innovations as a result, according to a recent statement from the university.

Ren said that universities were the best platform for innovation, and by cooperating with enterprises, students can realize their dreams and give them real-life applications. Ren also said that young students and researchers should be encouraged to pursue "seemingly meaningless research." 

The Huawei founder has frequently visited top universities in China, stressing the importance of the institutions' cooperation with Huawei as well as their strong talent pools when it comes to creating world-class technologies. 

In late July, Ren went on a whirlwind tour of four universities in three days - Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Nanjing University and Southeast University. He later also paid a visit to Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, both of which are top scientific institutions in China boasting some of the best industry talent in the country.

"Ren's visits to universities are a clear attempt to scoop up top young talent and encourage such scientists to enter an industry that is facing unprecedented challenges as well as potential," Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times.

"These universities are known for their research ability as well as for cultivating talent for the telecommunication and high-technology sectors," Xiang said. "They are also able to compete globally, so it is crucial to get this kind of talent fresh from the source." 

Some schools have already established long-term partnerships with Huawei, including Nanjing University, where Huawei established scholarships and teaching awards as early as 1993. 

"It is important to encourage young students to enter the telecommunications and high-technology sectors, especially since it's not just a matter of commercial development, but also the national interest," Xiang added. 

Huawei's telecommunications business, especially its 5G deployment, is facing intensifying pressure from the US. Washington has tightened restrictions on Huawei's access to US-produced chips, as well as any chips made from plants using US equipment. 

The technological decoupling between China and the US is costly for both sides. According to the US Federal Communications Commission, it could cost around $1.8 billion to remove and replace all Huawei and ZTE equipment already in US telecommunications networks. 

While companies including Qualcomm and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co - both important chip providers for Huawei - have been restricted in their business, other companies are eyeing this as an opportunity to get a bigger share of the market. 

ASML Holding, the Dutch company that is one of the world's largest suppliers of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry, said that it has accelerated its Chinese business development. 

Infineon Technologies, a German semiconductor manufacturer, also said recently that it plans to prioritize China for future development, and said that only a fraction of its chips are subject to the US ban.

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