In the first interview that Steven Chen Shiqing gives to a medium in Argentina, he anticipated that he will return with a business in which he is strong in the world
Huawei is one of the world’s leading technology companies. Twenty years ago he arrived in Argentina, in the middle of one of the worst crises in its history.
Your current CEO, Steven Chen Shiqing, leads the local subsidiary since 2019 after having passed through the subsidiaries in Mexico and Costa Rica, two of the countries where the brand dominates in the smartphone business, unlike Argentina where its strength is concentrated in the provision of equipment for telecommunications networks. On these issues and what he hopes for next year he referred in this talk with iProfessional.
-What is Huawei’s situation in Argentina today?
–Our worldwide revenues grew and will continue to grow as they have been for the last 30 years. In Argentina, after 20 years of hard work, we have grown a lot, we employ 500 people and another 1,000 indirectly.
We have trust in which, although there is some uncertainty, we are going to continue making investments in Argentina. We will continue to make disbursements in cloud and in solar energy, we will continue to focus on the operators’ business units and on the companies and businesses, but we will also turn to newer ones.
-Are you going to resume the end consumer business, that of smartphones?
–We will continue to focus on networks and in connectivity. In consumer we are selling smartwatches and some Smart TVs. We are evaluating how the market and the industry continues to advance.
And yes, the mass consumption business is going to return to Argentina. Within Latin America, in countries like Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica we have a very good market share. On the contrary, Brazil and Argentina have similar situations regarding the business of smartphones because in neither of the two there is sale of telephones, which makes it different from the other countries.
Steven Chen is confident of a better 2021 for the country, the year in which the company will bring back the smartphone business
–The operators have their investment decisions on hold due to DNU 690, how do these decisions affect them?
-The DNU (N. de la R. “The famous DNU” jumped into the conversation) had a direct impact on the operators, and indirectly on us. We know of the importance of ICT (information and communication technologies) for the growth of the country and we trust that there will be a dialogue with positive results between the Government and the main operators.
-What expectations do you have for the telecommunications market towards 2021? Are you waiting for definitions on 5G?
–We know that both the Government and the operators are deeply analyzing this technology. In this industry there are three parties: Government, operators and vendors. The Government is in charge of defining the spectrum, the operators carry out the business model analysis and the vendors provide the solutions. The operators are working with Huawei.
According to our experience with 5G In Asia, the Middle East and Europe this technology will bring a lot of benefits in sectors such as health, mining, energy, entertainment, and We are sure that in Argentina we will be covered with 5G in the next five years and that this will bring benefits for the country’s growth.
-The United States is very attentive to the development of 5G in the region. Do you fear some kind of influence, of interference from that country in the process that will be followed in Argentina?
-The business environment is very important for all investors. I am grateful that in Argentina there is an open and honest competition model, even, that helps the investment, not only from the communications part but from the industry. Huawei It is always focused on customers and we always hope to give them value.
For 20 years we have been in Argentina focused on offering the best to operators, regardless of the political situation. The situation in Europe is more complex and everything is based on non-technical topics. Huawei is committed to offering value to customers and for more than 30 years we have been offering the best technological solutions and the end customer will end up making the decision based on the best proposal.
In Argentina Huawei is strong in network connectivity and in the cloud, betting on artificial intelligence and solar energy
-Two weeks ago the Washington Post published an article in which it claimed to have documentation that proved that Huawei software was helping to monitor minorities in China.
-It’s totally false. You are going to hear a lot of rumors and they are non-technological issues that affect Huawei. The truth is that Huawei in all the countries where it was established complied with the laws and regulations from the beginning.
-What are the expectations of the company in Argentina for 2021?
-It was a particular year, pandemic It shocked us all a lot and there have been a lot of changes. We come from a particular and different year. The digitization it was promoted as a requirement and for that reason investment in technology has also been accelerated. President Alberto Fernández announced, at the end of September, the Conectar plan that will speed up fiber optic deployments throughout the country.
This is going to bring an acceleration in the connectivity in different parts of Argentina because it is going to encourage more networks to make use of that fiber backbone. Among the scenarios that we see for 2021 we analyze what will affect the industry and although we cannot make predictions, from my personal point of view I am very convinced that everything will improve, I see a more positive scenario.
-Can you give more details on how you will return to the consumer business, of smartphones?
–Let’s go back to smartphone business and at the same time, we want to do better, have a better plan. We cannot say when. We have a strong intention to return because that brings benefits for the end users not only because it is about better equipment but also because of the prices. We are doing an analysis of how the business was in the last three years to see what the best plan will be. There is going to be an answer to that question soon but we don’t know when.
-In Huawei’s 2019 Global Connectivity Index (GCI), Argentina is ranked 48th, with a drop compared to 2018, what measures should be taken for the country to rise in that ranking?
– I’m glad to see that people care about the rate of connectivity that will help the industry go faster. From Huawei’s GCI last year we can see that investments directly translate into a better position. For example, we have seen large investments in 4G in recent years and resulted in a better position in the index. We see that operators have invested a lot in the deployment of networks.
The Government is analyzing the evolution of important issues such as the cloud or 5G. All of this will not only help in the connectivity index, but will also ultimately help the country’s economy.