The Business Year


UAE, ABU DHABI - Telecoms & IT

Alaa Elshimy

Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Enterprise BG , Huawei Middle East


Alaa Elshimy studied at Harvard, MIT and London business school and holds an MBA and Bachelor of Communications Engineering. Currently he is a doctorate student at the Swiss Business School.

"The Middle East is one of the most important regions for Huawei, globally."
TBY talks to Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Enterprise BG of Huawei Middle East, about implementing cloud solutions, sustainability, and 5.5G technology.
What have been Huawei Cloud’s latest achievements in the UAE and why have you decided to keep this trend in the country?

The Middle East is one of the most important regions for Huawei, globally. In particular, the UAE and Saudi are the biggest two countries for us, and hence the biggest investment, attention, and presence from Huawei’s point of view. 2022 is a special and important year for us. Talking about the cloud, in particular, we have already built the first cloud region in Abu Dhabi, the first ever in the Middle East region. We have managed to get over 50 enterprises and government customers into this cloud. Only in 2022, we managed to launch 15 new innovative services into our clouds. We will have two cloud regions: one is active now in Abu Dhabi and the second will be active in 2023 in Saudi Arabia. Besides that, Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) granted permission to Huawei Cloud to offer cloud services in Kuwait as the GCC country pursues a cloud-first policy in July this year. We need to continue to develop our partners and customers from the ecosystem side to build together these vertical solutions and business solutions and make them available for our customers on the cloud. And hence the investment in this program is aimed at developing the ecosystem partners and encouraging them to invest and train resources and devise new solutions on the cloud. We are also investing USD1 million in the competition between the various innovative apps. This year is particularly special because we have also included Arabic applications.

How do you help the various governments of countries you are based in to implement these services?

Governments are the biggest sector for us from a business perspective and possibly the most important, too. Huawei has participated in the digital transformation of more than 700 cities around the world, accumulating valuable practical experience in the process.. We have partnered with over 50 different ministries and governments globally. What we do is appraise the country’s objective in terms of the national digital transformation strategy. Then, we partner with them to execute and deliver on the objective of the strategy. For example, if you are talking about smart, safe cities, smart traffic light management, smart transportation, smart hospitals, and smart education some of the key areas. What we do is that we provide intelligent government solutions whereby the citizens are able to deal only with one window on the system digitally. And from there, all the data is loaded. And then this system integrates different departments and uses big data to collect and appropriately share the data as needed to authorized people from different departments. This saves money and effort for the country and its citizens. The strategy of the UAE is clear, and the country wants to be the global hub for the industry for the digital vertical applications or digital transformation applications. How do we help the country do that? Our strategy is to implement the national strategy. As part of that effort we built the first regional cloud in the Middle East.

A green and intelligent society is a major pillar for the UAE and for Abu Dhabi. What role does Huawei play in this?

By June 2022 Huawei had generated 588 billion kW of green energy, which means that we have saved 17 billion kW of electricity. This is equivalent to offsetting 290 million tons of CO2, which is equivalent to planting 390 million trees; quite a contribution. At Huawei, in 2021 we created Digital Power business Unit whereby we leverage digital transformation and capabilities to manage and develop clean power and enable energy electronics for energy saving. So, you can consider it from a product, operations and management, or operations, maintenance, and solutions point of view. The products we produce are green, which ensure minimum savings of 30% on power consumption. For example, if you visit any data center and then a Huawei data centers, the difference is clear. We have installed closed-circuit modular racks that are easy to build, and manage, and where consumption is easily 30 to 50% less than at traditional data centers. The design of the product itself can save on energy. Now we are creating what is called a passive network, which means that it does not use energy at all. It is zero energy. You don’t need electricity to connect these switches to make it work or to connect long-distance fiber to make it work. Operations and maintenance are vital aspects because when you automate these parts, you don’t need to send people to the site and take measures, saving on money, time and effort. If you look at it from a solution and process point of view these are the key areas where we are registering savings and helping countries to be more sustainable. R&D is a key pillar of our strategy, in terms of global efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.

What is the short to medium-term plan for Huawei?

We continue to partner with our customers and various governments to make sure that we understand their national digital transformation plans and strategies and help translate them into reality. It is the same for the various industrial verticals. We have already built over 100 scenarios for 10 industries, and continue to invest in them. Meanwhile, 5.5G is one of the key areas that we are focused on. We are talking about more and more devices being connected. That all needs to be connected to the Cloud, then generate actionable data intelligence that ultimately benefits the consumer. This increased connectivity requires more bandwidth, higher speed, and lower latency. And hence, we are paving the way for the arrival of 5.5G within a few years. Meanwhile, we will also continue to invest in cyber security, while AI is another key pillar. We also continue to partner with universities and governments in various countries to foster new talent. We have partnerships with over 440 universities and colleges across the region. Human capital is the key to the success of any digital transformation strategy. We have already trained over 120,000 technical talents across the region and certified 37,000 in total.



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