With smartphone sales dwindling, Huawei is reportedly turning to technology for pig farmers as it struggles with tough sanctions on its devices. The telecom company was stopped from accessing vital components following the Trump administration labelling it as a threat to US’ national security. Trump had claimed that Huawei can and does share customer data with the Chinese government, an allegation that the company has repeatedly denied.
Now, as Huawei struggles with smartphones sales, it is looking for other sources of revenue for its technology, reports BBC.
And pig farming is not the only thing. Along with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for pig farmers, Huawei is also working with the coal mining industry, according to reports.
As a result of being blacklisted by the US, Huawei has been limited to making 4G models since it lacks US government permission to import components for 5G models. Huawei’s smartphone sales have dropped 42% in the last quarter of 2020 as it dealt with limited supplies of microchips thanks to the sanctions. The company has also been locked out of 5G development in a bunch of countries, including the UK due to security concerns.
Reports have it that Huawei might reduce its smartphone manufacturing by almost 60% this year, but this is not confirmed.
“The issue here is not like there’s any problems with our quality or experiences of the Huawei products. It’s not a level playing field for Huawei as Huawei is caught in between the geopolitical tensions,” a company spokesman told the BBC.
For now, Huawei appears to be looking for other sources of revenue like moving into cloud computing services, wearables and smart vehicles including a smart car and also some more traditional industries like pig farming.
China has the world’s biggest pig farming industry and is home to half the world’s live hog population. Tech is being used to modernise pig farms with AI being used to detect diseases and track pigs. Facial recognition is also used to identify individual animals and there is other tech in use to monitor weight, exercise and diet.
But Huawri is not going to be the only tech company doing this, other Chinese tech giants like Alibaba and JD.com already work with pig farmers in China.
“Pig farming is yet another example of how we try to revitalise some traditional industries with ICT (Information and Communications Technology) technologies to create more value for the industries in the 5G era,” the Huawei spokesman told BBC.
Huawei founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei announced earlier this month that the company was launching a mining innovation lab in northern China’s Shanxi Province.
Zhengfei said he wanted to develop technology for coal mines that will lead to “fewer workers, greater safety, and higher efficiency” and enable coal miners to “wear suits and ties” at work.
Zhengfei also mentioned that the company was expanding into consumer products such as televisions, computers and tablets.
“We can still survive even without relying on phone sales,” Zhengfei said, adding that it is very unlikely the US will remove Huawei from the blacklist.