Huawei dangles nearly R22bn in hunt for global developers

A logo sits illuminated outside the Huawei booth on day 2 of the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2019 on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
A logo sits illuminated outside the Huawei booth on day 2 of the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2019 on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Huawei is offering $1.5bn (around R21.9bn at current rates) to partners willing to build software for its future chip and computing platforms, courting developers worldwide at a time the US is heightening scrutiny of the Chinese tech giant.

China’s largest technology company aims to invest that amount in its existing developer program over the next five years, deputy chairperson Ken Hu told attendees at an annual customer conference on Wednesday. The program was established to encourage external parties to create apps for Huawei services, including possibly its just-unveiled in-house smartphone software, HarmonyOS.

Huawei is accelerating its outreach at a time the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on the sale of American technology and encouraged its allies to cut ties with the Chinese company. Huawei, which has repeatedly denied Washington’s claims it poses a threat to US national security, says it’s intent on leading advanced fields such as artificial intelligence chips and software. It’s now developing alternatives to US technology to help safeguard the world’s largest networking business.

The company intends to build its base of partner-developers to 5 million eventually, Hu said.

"This work has already started and we’ve received very good feedback," he told an audience of technology executives in Shanghai. "We have implemented this strategy and we’re looking forward to more partners joining us."

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