Kathy Gibson reports from CeBIT, Hanover – Hardware and infrastructure giant Huawei has signed a series of strategic partnerships with German technology leaders, paving the way for the Chinese organisation to take a lead role in the development of global technology, particularly Industry 4.0.
Yesterday at CeBIT, Huawei executives signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with research institute Fraunhofer ESK to jointly develop ICT technology for Industry 4.0 by leveraging their combined R&D expertise on industrial access router and 4G wireless technologies.

Both companies will research and develop Industry 4.0 solutions, comprising new ICT platforms, development work beyond 4G, as well as industrial wireless and wired communication technologies.

“Huawei aims to leverage the most advanced ICT technologies and innovation, and work with Fraunhofer ESK to jointly develop ICT solutions for various Industry 4.0 applications,” says Patrick Zhang, president of the marketing and solutions department: Products and Solutions at Huawei.

“Industry 4.0 is becoming a fundamental element for the digitalised world of the future and will bring dramatic improvements in productivity for society in general.”

Professor Dr-Ing Rudi Knorr, director of Fraunhofer ESK and chair of communications are Augsburg University, adds: “We are excited to work with the world’s leading ICT solutions provider Huawei on shaping future ICT technologies for Industry 4.0. As experts in communications technologies, our constant endeavour is the research and development of communication technologies to ensure that it is reliable, secure and hence meet the requirements of the industry.”

Huawei also signed two MoUs with SAP for the joint development of technology and co-operation on the companies’ innovation labs.

Quizzed on the mutual attraction of the Chinese and German technology leaders for one another, Zhang comments: “We see Germany as one of the major manufacturing countries in the world. It is in a leading position now, and has a vision for the future with Industry 4.0. China has a similar vision, both countries aspiring to achieve industry transformation.

“China wants to become a strong manufacturing country rather than just a big manufacturer, and we can use ICT to transform the whole manufacturing industry of both countries.”

Carsten Rossback, consulting senior analyst at RolandBerger, points out that German organisations are traditionally good at producing engineers, software and IT systems. Huawei, on the other hand, is good at classic ICT. “Working with the Chinese companies in general, and Huawei in particular, together with the German companies, we can start to change the market.”

This year, China was the CeBIT partner country, with a very strong presence at the exhibition; and a German-China Summit was also held at the event yesterday.