Huawei to invest US$100m to support APAC startups

Huawei will be investing US$100 million in startup support, which will go towards its Spark Programme in the Asia Pacific region, aiming to build a sustainable startup ecosystem for the region over the next three years.  

At the inaugural HUAWEI CLOUD Spark Founders Summit which took place simultaneously in Singapore and Hong Kong, Huawei said the programme would focus its efforts on developing four startup hubs in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam in addition to its Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand ops. The Spark programme’s overarching aim is to recruit a total of 1,000 startups into the accelerator programme and shape 100 of them into scaleups.

Huawei also introduced three additional initiatives under the Asia Pacific Spark Programme. The three initiatives are namely the Spark Developer Programme, which aims to nurture a developer ecosystem; the Spark Pitstop Programme, designed to onboard and support startups; and the Spark Innovation Program (SIP), focused on facilitating enterprise innovation.

Huawei senior vice president and board member, Catherine Chen, said that startups were imperative to social advancement, and Huawei’s initiatives supporting startups would help them “seize the opportunities posed by digital transformation, achieve business success, and develop more innovative products and solutions for the world".

The Spark Programme already has around 40 participants, said Zhang Ping'an, CEO of Huawei's cloud business unit, adding that Huawei is working with local governments, leading incubators, VC firms, and universities to build support platforms for startups in many regions. Zhang also said that the cloud business unit is stepping up its support for startups through four new initiatives, aimed at cloud-plus-cloud collaboration, continuous tech innovation, global and local services, and high-quality business ecosystems. The newly launched Cloud-plus-Cloud Collaboration and Joint Innovation Programme, will support startups with US$40 million worth of resources. According to Zhang, half of that investment will come  from HUAWEI CLOUD, while the other half from Huawei Mobile Services.

Jeffery Liu, president for APAC region of Huawei, added: "For the past two decades, we have remained committed to being 'In Asia Pacific, For Asia Pacific'. Leveraging Huawei's global customer base and full-stack technologies, the Spark Programme will invest more than US$100 million over the next three years, and provide comprehensive support to the establishment of a sustainable startup ecosystem that creates new value for this dynamic region."

Earlier this month, Huawei expanded its mobile advertising division Huawei Ads in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, introducing more partner support and diverse ad solutions to attract local advertisers to join the platform. Currently, Huawei Ads is integrated into more than 10,000 third-party apps across APAC.

Similarly, Alibaba Group’s cloud computing subsidiary Alibaba Cloud also announced last month that it was investing US$1 million to support developers and technology startups in APAC over the next three years. As part of its Project AsiaForward, the initiative comes under Alibaba Cloud's strategy to invest in infrastructure, technological innovation and talent development to contribute to local economic growth through digital transformation. It also partnered the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) earlier this month, to provide support for the digitalisation of SMEs in Sarawak. SMEs that are currently using SDEC’s cloud platform SDeCloud will be able to choose solutions and products provided by Alibaba Cloud, said the company. 

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