Governments across Europe have made it their key aim to increase the integration of digital technology into its citizen’s daily lives. Applying the latest innovations to areas ranging from agriculture and manufacturing to healthcare and urban planning is a core part of the continent’s aim to reap multiple efficiency gains and enhance the productive potential of Europe’s economy. Working across all Member States, the European Commission draws its digital aims together under the “Digital Single Market”. This seeks to remove unnecessary regulatory and access barriers, enabling all EU residents to fully enjoy the benefits that digital developments can offer.
Europe’s digital transformation is fully under way and Huawei is a part of this process. As a leading global provider of ICT solutions, we are in a strategic position to help Europe get the most out of digital technologies. Through investment, innovation and collaboration, Huawei aims to be a contributor to a united and strong Europe. Developing the products and services required to accomplish the Digital Single Market and achieving the EU’s target, including 5G connectivity, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital security and enhancing ICT skills is a key focus of our European efforts.
We are also encouraged by the vision of global leaders who have emphasized the importance of putting center stage further coordinated efforts for digitization. As António Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, has said in 2019, “the digital revolution has transformed our lives and societies with unprecedented speed and scale, delivering immense opportunities as well as daunting challenges. New technologies can make significant contributions, but we cannot take positive outcomes for granted. We must urgently improve international cooperation if we are to achieve the full social and economic potential of digital technology, while avoiding unintended consequences.”
A strong European footprint as a sign of a trusted partnership
In addition to helping shape Europe’s digital future, Huawei makes a sizeable and immediate contribution to the continent’s economy. Our employment spreads throughout Europe, illustrating perhaps the most visible sign of our strong footprint on the continent: Currently, ten countries see more than 5,000 jobs supported as a result of Huawei’s activities, of which two – Germany and the UK – have more than 20,000 jobs linked to our company in some way. Overall, this means we support 169,700 European jobs through various channels of impact. This includes 13,300 permanent employees and contracted staff at Huawei’s European entities, plus a further 80,300 jobs in European firms within Huawei’s worldwide supply chain.
Overall, Huawei sustained a €12.8 billion contribution to Europe’s GDP in 2018, including a direct contribution of €2.5 billion, resulting from operational expenditure at our sites across the EU, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. Furthermore, a €5.4 billion indirect contribution is stimulated by Huawei’s European and global operations’ procurement of inputs of goods and services from suppliers in the 12 European countries from which Huawei purchases the most. Finally, an induced contribution of €4.9 billion, which captures the wider economic benefits that arise from the payments of wages by Huawei and the firms in its supply chain to their own employees, who spend their earnings in retail, leisure and other outlets, benefits the European economy. This also includes the economic activity stimulated in these outlets’ supply chains.
Huawei’s economic impact has grown rapidly in recent years. In line with Huawei’s increasing commitment to European markets, the company’s total economic impact in Europe has grown significantly in recent years. Its investments in staff and facilities have increased along with its procurement spend on goods and services produced by European suppliers. Between 2014 and 2018, Huawei’s total contribution to European GDP grew by an annual average of 19% in real terms.
Huawei’s impact beyond the numbers
Huawei is actively involved in efforts to innovate in multiple fields of next-generation technologies to help strengthen the competitiveness of European industries and achieve the EU’s goal of digital sovereignty. The efforts of Huawei’s research are closely aligned with the European Commission’s aims for digitization of the economy and more broadly, the society at large. Together with European partners and citizens, Huawei looks forward to experiencing the benefits of this research.
Innovation, research and development plays a fundamental role in sustaining long-run economic growth. The European Commission has put innovation at the heart of both its Industrial Strategy Policy and the Digital Single Market. Huawei will continue to invest significantly in R&D while Europe remains one of our key centers for innovation. Currently, we operate 23 Research Institutes across 12 European countries. Around 2,400 of our European workforce are employed in R&D roles, undertaking activities ranging from furthering wireless and optical technology to cloud computing and research into new materials.
Digital Europe is here. European governments, industries, and other stakeholders have laid a solid foundation for Europe’s digital future. Now it’s time to give the continent the boost it needs to secure its reputation for technological leadership and governance in a changing world.
As Kristalina Georgieva, Chairwoman and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, puts it: “While some uncertainties have receded, new ones have emerged. The truth is that uncertainty is becoming the new normal. Working together, we can take the necessary steps to reduce uncertainty and put the global economy on more solid footing.”
“One thing that’s clear is that we’re seeing the mass digitalization of human relations with the [COVID-19] crisis, and that will have an inevitable impact,” stated António Guterres just recently in an interview. “The future will be much more digital than the past. This is going to provide a major impetus for the development of artificial intelligence, for the development of all the cyberspace activities,” he added.
Huawei has always been a strong proponent of accelerating Europe’s digitization and with the EU’s plans for a single digital market, it is clear that the goals of Huawei and Europe are closely aligned. We welcome the EU’s efforts in removing digital barriers to enhance and expand digital markets – and in doing so, facilitating markets to provide greater choice at more competitive prices, benefiting customers all over the continent. At a time when achieving digital sovereignty is crucial for Europe to maintain technological leadership, Huawei is proud to partner with governments, businesses, and initiatives all over the continent to promote innovation for the next generation.
Author: Kevin Liu, President of Public Affairs and Communications Department, Western Europe, Huawei Technologies.