Last updated: 13 March 2023

Published on: 28 July 2017


IMDA’s thrust for digital economy gets a boost from Huawei’s new strategic partnerships.

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(Back Row L-R): Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chairman of Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA); Mr Chen Xiaodong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of The People's Republic of China to The Republic of Singapore; Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, and Madam Sun Yafang, Chairwoman of Huawei Technologies.

(Front Row L-R): Mr Wong Wai Meng, CEO of Keppel Data Centres; Mr Tan Kiat How, CEO of IMDA, and Mr Lei Hui, CEO of Huawei International.

(Image credit: Huawei)

By Jacqueline Danam

Expanding overseas, levelling up skill sets of local talents and reducing energy consumption of power-hungry data centres were the key objectives of Huawei’s new partnerships with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Keppel Data Centres.

The partnerships were established through a series of Memoranda of Intent (MOIs) signed on 19 July. Under another MOI, Huawei has appointed Singapore-based Ascent Solutions as its global Internet of Things (IoT) partner.

Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for National Security, Mr Teo Chee Hean, who witnessed the signing of the MOIs, said these initiatives would “spur innovation and foster collaboration to prepare for the future.”

“Technological innovation is key to Singapore’s development to be a knowledge-based economy. Transformative technology – from robotic drones to smart city solutions – is reshaping our economy, and disrupting business models. At the same time, this is creating many exciting new opportunities and good jobs,” he added.

Tackling the global market

Through the partnership, 35 Singapore-based tech companies will partner Huawei in the development of applicable solutions, which Huawei would then incorporate into or bundle with its products that are marketed and sold globally.

The companies will also have early access to Huawei’s technology to help them develop innovative products in sectors such as healthcare, logistics, financial services and more. IMDA will structure platforms and engagement models to identify these companies, which will be jointly shortlisted by IMDA and Huawei.

This push for local companies to go global is exemplified by the MOI between Huawei and Ascent Solutions. The Singapore-based IoT and cargo security company will now be able to enter the South Pacific and European regions through Huawei. Ascent Solutions is the only Singapore-based company that is an ecosystem partner of Huawei, alongside 30 other smart companies.

In addition, Huawei will offer 45 internship positions via its Seeds of the Future programme to help grow Singapore’s pool of skilled ICT manpower. “This will help our polytechnic and university students develop skills in emerging network technologies such as 5G, wireless broadband and cloud,” said DPM Teo.

Building data centres of the future

Meanwhile, the third MOI will leverage IMDA’s programmes to support the development of a high-rise green data centre, Keppel Data Centres’ capabilities to construct and operate the centre, and Huawei’s technological expertise to develop innovative green data centre solutions.

Data centres are a key element in the digital infrastructure of the future, and with concerns over climate change, it has become critical to explore ways to improve their energy- and land-efficiency. This is of even more concern for Singapore as a data hub, as half of the region’s data centre capacity is here.

“The average data centre in Singapore needs about a hectare of land or about the size of four HDB blocks, and energy-related costs can contribute to close to half the operating expenditure. Reducing energy and land requirements are therefore critical areas, especially for a tropical, land-scarce country like Singapore,” said DPM Teo.

Noting that Singapore is always open to new ideas and innovation, IMDA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tan Kiat How, added, “Through partnerships with leading industry players, IMDA aims to accelerate the transformation of our industries for a digital economy, expand the international footprint of our tech companies, and jointly develop ground-breaking solutions for the global market.”