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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Danielle Isaac, China
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Huawei to invest US$140m in global AI developer programme

The investment is aimed at developers, partners, universities, and research institutions.

Huawei is expanding its AI strategy with its new AI Developer Enablement Programme that includes an investment of US$140m or $198.91m for the enhancement of the skills of AI developers, vice president of Huawei and president of Huawei Cloud BU Zheng Yelai said. The programme is aimed at developers, the company’s partners, universities, and research institutions.

Yelai announced in his keynote speech at the last day of Huawei Connect 2018 that the programme will consist of 20-hour free training sessions, a three-week beginner AI training camp, AI developer contests, and an “innovation incubation camp” that will allow developers to release the commercial applications of their research.

The programme is part of the company’s three-day lineup of announcements that are centred on its push towards AI. The developer programme is aimed at the development of its IT infrastructure or its solutions for its customers.

The investment towards enhancing AI developers is not limited to those in China, Yelai added. “This plan does not distinguish domestic or overseas AI talent enablement or development,” he said in a press conference after the speech.

The Huawei executive has not elaborated on how the investment will cover its overseas partners. However, he added that the company is open to reviewing their investment in the programme.

Huawei aims to build joint solutions based on Huawei’s computing platform, set an AI promotion alliance, provide 1,000 sets of free development environments and expert resources, as well as share market resources.

The company also aims to cooperate with universities to publish textbooks and educational material related to AI, assist in building AI labs and training AI teachers, encourage universities to participate in Huawei cloud open community. It will also offer its computing power and the technology of its AI platform.

Previously, chief strategy marketing officer William Xu shared Huawei’s plan to support 1 million AI developers as part of the company’s shift towards offering products geared towards the technology. Yelai added, “One million is not a big number at all actually,” citing the fact that China alone has already 7 million developers to date.

Huawei also shared that it has started developing AI talent at eight universities in China, including Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences of Tsinghua University, the University of Science and Technology of China, Zhejiang University, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The programme is Huawei’s take on the present workforce crunch which is partly driven by the development of AI across all industries. Most employees presently express worry that they will be replaced by machines that are able to do their work more efficiently at a lower cost.

Huawei Connect 2018 was held in Shanghai, China from 10 to 12 October. 

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