The digital economy is spreading rapidly around the world. Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Limited's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Leon Xia believes that the inclusion of internet in different productive sectors including education, health, medical, business, and commerce, should be increased.
According to him, the Fourth-Generation (4G) internet service will further accelerate Bangladesh's economic growth.
For this reason, the expansion of this service will be of paramount importance to grassroots. He recently expressed his hope to contribute more to the government's Digital Bangladesh program in an interview with the Daily Kalerkantho.
The World Bank says, if 10 percent of the broadband Internet users are created in any country, the country's gross domestic product or GDP will increase by 1.3 percent.
After 3G, the 4G Internet service will increase the number of internet users and the amount of consumed data several times, which is expected to accelerate GDP growth, Leon Xia thinks.
He said: "Internet penetration (inclusion) from the middle-income country will increase. Knowledge and technology-based activities have to be enhanced."
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) hopes to increase GDP growth in the current fiscal year to 7.65 percent.
On the other hand, national per capita income increased to $1,752.
This is making Bangladesh one of the fastest growing markets in Asia and attracting global technology companies to invest in this country, said the officer of the world's leading ICT solutions provider company.
On September 8, 2013, the 3G auction was held.
On February 19, three mobile phone operators started 4G services in the country officially.
The 4G network provides extremely fast internet services, so that HD video streaming, online TV watching, fast file downloading or uploading and browsing can easily be done.
Mentioning that all the telecom operators having a 4G license are using Huawei's solutions, Leon Xia said: "We are proud to be a tech subsidiary to create the 4G network. More than 100 countries have embraced 4G service by Huawei’s support. Our service has reached one-third of the world's population. We are also working on the implementation of 5G."
Being asked the difference between China's 4G services with Bangladesh, the official of Huawei Technologies Bangladesh said: "There is no technical difference. While it may be more or less about speed, it actually depends on operators' spectrum and tower density. There are 200,000 4G sites in Shenzhen, China, where Bangladesh has a total of 30 and 40 thousand sites, despite the fact that Bangladesh is very densely populated."
"To provide quality mobile services, the coverage and signal quality must be increased in Bangladesh. Otherwise, higher speed than 3G cannot be guaranteed," he added.
Pointing towards various possibilities unveiled by the high speed of 4G, Leon Xia said: "Those who are not able to enjoy the benefits of technology at the grassroots, should be provided 4G service and the ‘digital divide’ should be removed. Thus, the new technology will serve as a tool for economic development. 4G services can reduce disparities between rural and urban areas in e-learning. Many other sectors, including healthcare, can see revolutionary changes."
There is a shortage of devices in the field of 4G service. Asked whether Huawei had any plans to address this, he said: "It will take some time to resolve. We have no plan to set up a manufacturing device in Bangladesh soon. We are monitoring the situation and the authorities will consider it when the environment is created."
"Huawei has a range of affordable, medium and high priced mobile phones. We are trying to make these phones affordable for the customers," he further added.
Huawei is making sustainable progress on smartphones. The progress will step-up with the activation of 4G.
"Our consumers need more affordable 4G smartphones in the market. Because many of them will have to upgrade their handsets. If this happens, two-digit growth is possible in this year too," said Leon Xia.
Huawei started its journey in Bangladesh in 1998. More than 10,000 jobs have been created directly and indirectly in 20 years’ journey in Bangladesh where 85 percent of the total manpower is Bangladeshi.
To establish technological ecosystem, Huawei wants to further contribute to the implementation of Digital Bangladesh, said the COO of Huawei Technologies Bangladesh Ltd.
He added, "As an infrastructure supplier, we want to create high-speed internet highways so that everyone participating can do something for the economy of this country."
To boost technological innovation, Huawei is increasingly investing in Research and Development (R & D).
For this, Huawei has developed 15 R & D centers and 36 joint R & D centers around the world.
In 2017, the company has spent 13.8 billion dollars which is 17.4 percent of their profits. In 2016, Huawei spent 11 billion dollars in this sector, which is 14.6 percent of their profits.
Huawei spent 60.4 billion dollars in research and development in the last decade. 80 thousand employees of the company are working in R&D, which is 45 percent of the company's total manpower and got the approval of 74,307 patents.
Huawei is researching on 5G, which has been unveiled in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress this year, said Leon Shia, "It can take three to five years to spread this technology. Bangladesh recently launched 4G. Once the 4G technology is saturated, then the next generation technology can be considered. Besides, it is a matter of huge investment and the right use of its benefits. It is a matter of the government's decision. Our job is to ensure the innovation and achievement of our technology."
The Huawei official said: "We are working on Smart City. Huawei's Smart Home Solutions is becoming popular with young people in the world. I believe that it will also play a role in Bangladesh's progress. Everything inside the house can be seen on the smartphone screen. It's not too expensive. There are several flexibilities in building a smart home. The cost depends on which things we want to bring to a smart home."
Huawei is also working on smart car technology. Recently the company has been associated with Vodafone Germany and Bosch (modern equipment maker of cars).
As a result, Huawei will now provide technology to create 'Cellular Vehicle to Everything' with the two companies.
In this context, Leon Xia said: "In order to counter the challenge of digital transformation, Huawei always tries to provide innovative and state-of-the-art IT hardware and software products. I believe that Smart Car Technology is a great opportunity for Bangladesh." The use of this new technology will reveal more about the smart cars and the development of driverless cars, said Leon Xia.
Leon Xia is working in Huawei Technologies Bangladesh for a year. Prior to that, he served as director of Huawei's IT and Cloud Business. In addition, he held various important posts including director of sales management in Saudi Arabia. His assesses that the investment situation of the country is improving. He thinks that more tech-based companies will come to Bangladesh.
When asked about Huawei's brand philosophy, he said, "The quality of our products and services is the main strength of our branding. Huawei adheres to the 'Quality and Dedication to Customers' policy. It's not easy to make sure."
When asked about Huawei's investment plans in Bangladesh, Leon Xia said, "We are always investing in Bangladesh. But not only investment, we will do everything we need to meet the needs of our customers."
Regarding the activities of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of Huawei in Bangladesh, he said that Huawei has been carrying on the training of the Information Technology Department of the government and conducting Training Bus with Robi for basic computing training for the women of the school.
Besides, Huawei's 'Seeds for the Future' flagship program is giving Bangladeshi youngsters the chance to participate every year in talent hunt competition and achieve wide knowledge in ICT, said Leon Xia.
Masud Rumee is the Business Editor at the Daily Kalerkantho.