The digital economy has kicked into gear. With increasing collaboration between education, scientific research, ICT, and other industries navigating their transformation journey, digital talent development is paramount.
Asia's huge potential
Simply put, talent development and infrastructure construction will further accelerate Asia's digital economy.
ICT, Cloud, and AI are essential for any enterprise or organization looking to play a role in the digital economy. Even after the toll of COVID-19, many parts of Asia have led the world globally towards stabilization due to a sound digital ecosystem, a long-standing culture of innovation, and a long-term focus on talent development.
Huawei aims to ensure that no one is left behind in this digital world. We hope to build an open, shared ICT talent ecosystem that benefits all. It cannot be over-stressed how important it is to invest in digital infrastructure and a talent ecosystem for a global digital revolution.
Talent ecosystem drives innovation and digitalization
Over the past two decades of operation in the Asia Pacific region, Huawei has provided over 90 million households and more than 2.2 billion mobile connections and will continue to leverage partnerships to build a talent development ecosystem conducive to innovation.
Huawei has also been working on a technology innovation and application ecosystem with the goal of helping the region navigate digital transformation efficiently and effectively. The next decade will see the wide deployment of new ICT technologies, including 5G, AI, and IoT. As the cornerstone of the intelligent world in 2030, this new ICT, combined with digital talent, will drive industries to go digital.
Since the turn of the millennium, Huawei has invested heavily in developing local digital talent with our Seeds for the Future program launched in 15 Asia Pacific countries and regions, benefiting more than 5,000 students from over 90 universities. We have trained tens of thousands of engineers and technical experts in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand through our certification program. With an eye on sustainable equality, our Digital Training Bus project in Bangladesh has provided digital training for women in remote areas, helping to bridge the digital divide.
Within academia, Huawei has been working with top universities and has established over 259 ICT academies in the region. Our Singapore Research Center has cooperated with local research institutes on 93 projects covering technologies like communications, video, voice, and security. In Sri Lanka, we've partnered with the University of Moratuwa and the National Defense College to build innovation labs to provide software and hardware required for ICT application and development and encourage students to innovate in 5G, AI, cloud, and other cutting-edge technologies.
A bigger role to play through forging larger partnerships
We have recently launched our Huawei Asean Academy in 2019, designed to conduct joint operations with local governments, enterprises, universities, carriers, and industry organizations. In addition to cultivating digital talent, these academies promote innovation within startup communities and amongst SMEs.
The program has trained over 130,000 participants for local communities and covers Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. Huawei ASEAN Academy is one of our crucial talent development programs, and we expect it to play a bigger role in the future.
Innovation and development rely on a talent ecosystem. Huawei is prepared to work with its partners to build a talent development ecosystem conducive to innovation. Over the next five years, Huawei will invest $50 million to develop 500,000 digital talents in the Asia Pacific region. Huawei's 20-year legacy in the Asia Pacific has been a journey to discover like-minded friends. The digital world is becoming as essential as running water or electricity. It's imperative we work together to build an inclusive, innovative, and vibrant ecosystem, attract and cultivate more digital talent, and jointly promote the development and prosperity of the region.
Catherine Chen is Huawei senior vice president and director of the board