On August 10, 2021, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, left home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, Canada.
Jennifer Gauthier | Reuters
SHANGHAI — Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou said on Wednesday that commercializing 5G technology was more difficult than she expected.
One of the hopes for 5G connectivity is that, in addition to providing individual consumers with faster cellphone connections, the technology could also better enable self-driving cars and factory automation.
Meng said the challenges of commercializing 5G have been underestimated, and it is nothing like 2G, 3G or 4G that came before it. Operations at scale will only be possible if 5G becomes part of the ecosystem, she said.
On Wednesday, Meng Wanzhou spoke during a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, where she spoke extensively about the benefits of 5G for consumption and the economy.
The Chinese smartphone maker has sought to sell cloud services to specific industries such as mining and finance.
The company, which released figures for its cloud computing business in 2022 for the first time, said the unit had revenue of 45.3 billion yuan ($6.25 billion) last year.
“One of the interesting aspects when you compare MWC Shanghai to MWC Barcelona (earlier this year) is that many of the case studies are universal and global,” Digital Warfare: How China’s Tech Power Is Shaping the World Said Winston Ma, author of the book. The future of artificial intelligence, blockchain and cyberspace. “
Speaking on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, he said competing demands from Chinese companies could spur wider adoption of 5G.
“So I think Chinese companies may be ready and more willing to test new 5G applications,” said Jack Ma, an adjunct professor of law at New York University.
“But of course, there will be obstacles in any industry, especially traditional industries, they have their own existing ecosystems.”
Ban Huawei 5G
In May 2019, the Trump administration blacklisted Huawei due to national security concerns, restricting U.S. companies from selling technology to the Chinese company. Huawei denies posing such threats.
The US, UK and Australia have also banned Huawei from operating in their 5G networks. Earlier this month, a senior EU official called on more EU member states to do the same. Germany is one of the countries that has not restricted Huawei from participating in its local 5G network.
Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, returned to China in 2021 after being detained in Canada at the request of the United States for nearly three years. In addition to serving as Huawei’s chief financial officer, she also serves as the vice chairman and rotating chairman of Huawei’s board of directors.
— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.