Huawei dishes out US$40m for SG hub to build APAC mobile tech ecosystem

Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) has launched a US$40 million (approximately SG$52.8 million) innovation hub named "DIGIX LAB" in Singapore. Located at Changi Business Park, the hub aims to boost the mobile ecosystem in the APAC region by empowering mobile app developers and partners. Equipped with tech tools such as AR, VR, AI, and more, Huawei said the lab is a space for developers to meet and get hands-on experience on the full range of developer resources from HMS. The DIGIX Lab services can also be accessed online, allowing developers across the region to make use of the resources without physically travelling to Singapore.

The DIGIX Lab comprises three main segments: experience zone, engage zone, and enable zone. The experience zone is an area for visitors to experience Huawei’s “1+8+N” all-scenario ecosystem. It displays the latest smartphone models, and eight different types of Huawei devices including tablets, PCs, smart wearables and VR smart glasses. In addition, third party IoT home products supported by HUAWEI HiLink are also exhibited here.

Meanwhile, the engage zone is a multipurpose zone with a collaborative area and training rooms to support community building. Developer programmes such as trainings, workshops, industry and networking events will be held in this area. Tech enthusiasts or individual developers can also book the space to host community events related to mobile app development.

The third zone, enable zone, consists of three meeting rooms where developers who are facing challenges while developing an app can meet with Huawei engineers or business teams to get hands-on support. Four debug terminals are also available at the lab to support developers with the resource requirement.

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The launch of the hub comes as Huawei celebrates its 20th anniversary in Singapore, and is said to demonstrate Huawei’s advancing growth and continued investment in Singapore. Huawei looks to leverage Singapore’s importance as a growing technological hub in APAC as more mobile developers emerge. In 2020, Huawei said Singapore saw a 143% growth in the number of newly registered Huawei developers, and over 90% of top Singapore apps have integrated with HMS Core and on boarded to its AppGallery. Grab is the latest addition since end Jan 2021, following other top Singapore apps such as TraceTogether, ComfortDelGro, DBS, POSB, UOB, Channel NewsAsia (CNA), The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao for smartphones. Singtel’s Dash, the all-in-one mobile wallet which offers financial and lifestyle services such as remittance, payments, restaurant bookings, airtime and data top-up as well as insurance savings plans is also currently available on HUAWEI AppGallery. Government e-services app SingPass will soon be available in the early half of this year, the press release added. 

In last quarter 2020, Huawei also partnered with local institutions including Republic Polytechnic, Singapore University of Social Sciences and Singapore Games Association to host young talent training programmes on basic android app programing, AI and potential career development, to drive tech innovation and nurture a developers community at a grassroots level, with the reach of over 500 people.

Plans for 2021

Moving forward in 2021, HMS will introduce three developer community programmes in APAC: Huawei student developers, Huawei developer group, and Huawei developer experts. These programmes will help equip regional tech talents and enthusiasts with the necessary tools to excel in the mobile development industry, Huawei said. A wider range of Huawei developer trainings and HUAWEI developer certifications will also be put in place.

In Singapore, Huawei will partner SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and provide online training courses as well as certificates for local tech talents to learn android app development and master HMS Core capabilities.

Huawei is also in talks with Singapore Games Association to form a strategic partnership in developing the local mobile gaming industry.

Moving forward, HMS will continue its investment in the technological capabilities and provide localised operational support to developers to foster mobile innovation in an evolving landscape.

Huawei's mobile investment in Singapore comes just months after it said it is selling its smartphone brand HONOR to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology. This came as the company's said it has been under "tremendous pressure" as of late, due to a persistent unavailability of technical elements needed for its mobile phone business. A press statement then said the sale will help HONOR's channel sellers and suppliers "make it through this difficult time". Huawei also confirmed in the statement that once the sale is complete, it will not hold any shares or be involved in any business management or decision-making activities in the new HONOR company. 

Shan Xuefeng, director of Asia Pacific Huawei consumer cloud service said: “In the era of 5G, Huawei aims to build a ‘1+8+N’ all-scenario mobile ecosystem with HMS that empower developers to innovate as they build their business. The DIGIX Lab provides a platform to cultivate and equip developers with the necessary app development tools to innovate and advance the future of the digital space.” 

Huawei is the latest brand to establish an innovation hub in Singapore. Earlier this week, Dell also established a SG$66 million innovation centre named the Global Innovation Hub in Singapore. The innovation centre aims to fast track the adoption of digital solutions and drive digital innovations developed in Singapore for partners and customers globally. Pumping in approximately SG$30 million this year as part of its SG$66 million planned investment, Dell said it looks to accelerate developments in digital experiences and research and development capabilities in 2021.

Similar to DIGIX Lab, the Global Innovation Hub also taps into tech tools such as AR. It will focus on advancing multiple growth areas for digital transformation as well, including data analytics, cloud-native, cybersecurity and edge computing. Dell's innovation hub is also said to be home to a specialised team responsible for enhancing user experiences through innovation. 

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