Shared Exploration Illuminates the Future


Remarks at the Huawei Innovation Day Asia- Pacific

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, distinguished guests,

Good morning!

The beginning of modern Australia was based on Science. 246 years ago, Captain Cook set out from the United Kingdom on a scientic expedition to observe the 1769 transit of Venus, as part of this journey he navigated the East coast of Australia and from this voyage, the Australia we have today was born. Ever since that moment, an ongoing epic of exploration has unfolded on this ancient continent. The Australian pharmacologist Howard Florey won a Nobel Prize for his development of penicillin as a drug. David Warren's black box recorder made it possible to investigate and prevent air disasters. The radio astronomer John O'Sullivan discovered WI-FI by accident while researching black holes. And the history of exploration in Australia includes so much more, from cloud seeding to Helicobacter Pylori, from pacemakers to x-ray crystallography. The theme of this year's Huawei Innovation Day Asia- Pacific is the brilliance of exploration, and we decided to hold it here in Australia precisely because this is a country with exploration deep in its bones.

Today, it is my great honor to thank all of you for traveling to this land of exploration. Thank you all for coming to Huawei Innovation Day Asia- Pacific.

The growth and success that Huawei has achieved comes only from our spirit of dedication and customer centricity. Huawei's own exploration does not come out of nowhere, but is based on our insights into the future, and our determination to create value for our customers. That has never changed.

The English word "explore" comes from the Latin "ex" (outwards) and "plorare" (发音: plo-rah-reh) (to shout). It used to be a hunting term, describing how members of a hunting party would call to one another as they ventured outwards. This vivid image reminds us of one of the keys to exploration: Exploration is not something we do alone. We call to our friends, and advance together.

The future of human society is going to be smarter. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence mean that we must deal with vast cascades of data, and must transmit them through high-bandwidth, high-speed, low-latency pipes. This will require extensive exploration and research in core technologies, engineering methods, and systems architecture. Universities, industry, government agencies, and research institutes will have to work closely, openly, and proactively together. And they will have to find ways to quickly transform research findings into drivers of social change.

That is why we have invited colleagues from industry, from educational institutions, from government, and from research institutes to come together and discuss the issues we are exploring on the road to a Better Connected World. For future explorations in ICT, governments will set the policies to motivate, industry will incentivize researchers, research will guide teaching, and teaching will produce a skilled workforce to supply industry. The interplay of industry, education, government, and research is the bedrock on which the ICT ecosystem is founded. As a leading global supplier of ICT products and solutions, Huawei knows the value of talented people, and of collaboration. That can be seen from our work over the past years in the Seeds for the Future program, the Huawei Innovation Research Program, and our Open Labs. These programs are creating more pathways forward across the landscape that we explore, and giving us more like-minded companions to advance with.

A decade or so ago, Huawei was already an ICT innovator, but at that time our innovation was engineer-focused. Today, our explorations have carried us into uncharted technological territory, and it is vital that we have a vision of the future to channel our research. Today, we have that capability. Humanity today is at a turning point, and the next 20–30 years will see us develop a smart society. There will be enormous opportunities for the ICT industry. But without the right assumptions, we will never choose the right direction. Without the right direction, we will not find the best approach. Without the right approach, we will not develop the necessary conceptual apparatus. And without that, we will not find the right strategy. Today, we have invited all of our guests here to this Innovation Day to hear your insights. This exchange of ideas is what our founder, Ren Zhengfei, likes to call, "absorbing the energy of the universe over a cup of coffee."

Exploration must be a process that accepts the possibility of failure. Exploration in uncharted territory is full of unknowns and uncertainties. There must be trial and error as we uncover the path forward, bit by bit and step by step. Einstein wrote that it is terribly unfair that the history of science should only be the history of those who succeed. If someone "fails" by discovering that a certain approach will not work, they should not be excluded.

Huawei's research arm is our 2012 Labs. Its mission is to find the technologies of the future, and its success rate is below 0.5. We accept that 50% or more of our explorations will fail. We don't call that failure, we call it exploration. When you try a path and find that it goes nowhere, call out to your fellow hunters: "No good! Try another way!" That's not failure, it's success. And our explorers accumulate precious experience working these dead ends. This is an old truth that we've heard many times before: Failure is the stepping stone to success.

So today I am not going to take up any more of your time. The podium belongs to you, and we hope that the swirl of ideas here in this land of exploration will shine a light on the path ahead to a smart society. Once again, I welcome you to Huawei Innovation Day Asia. Thank you, everyone. (End)