Ren Zhengfei, founder of the technology giant Huawei, visited China‘s prestigious Peking University, seeking to deepen Huawei‘s cooperation with top institutions in China for talent, and saying he is hopeful the company will see more original and groundbreaking innovations as a result, according to the university‘s statement released recently.
The Huawei founder said that universities were the best platform for innovation, and by cooperating with enterprises, students can realize their dreams and give them real life applications. Ren also said that young students and researchers should be tolerated to do “seemingly meaningless research.”
The Huawei founder has frequently visited top universities in China, stressing the importance of the institutions‘ cooperation with Huawei as well as their strong talent pool when it comes to creating the world‘s leading technologies.
In late July, Ren went on a whirlwind tour of four universities in three days, including Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Nanjing University and Southeast University. He later also paid a visit to Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, both of which are top scientific institutions in China boasting some of the best industrial talent in the country.
“Ren‘s visits to universities are a clear attempt to scoop up top young talent and encourage them to enter an industry that‘s facing unprecedented challenges as well as potential,” Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times.
“These universities are known for their research ability as well as their talent for telecommunication and high tech,” Xiang said, “they are also able to compete globally, so it is crucial to get this kind of talent fresh from the source.”
Some schools have already established a long-term partnership with Huawei, including Nanjing University, where Huawei set up scholarships and teaching awards as early as 1993.
“It is important to encourage young students into the telecommunications and high technology sectors, especially since it‘s not just a matter of commercial development, but also of national interest,” Xiang added.
Huawei‘s telecommunications business, especially its 5G deployment, is facing intensifying pressure from the US. Washington has tightened restrictions on Huawei‘s access to US-produced chips, as well as any chips made from plants using US equipment.
The technological decoupling between China and the US is costly for both sides. According to the Federal Communications Commission, it could cost around $1.8 billion to remove and replace all Huawei and ZTE equipment already in US telecommunications networks.
However, while companies including Qualcomm and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) – both important chip providers for Huawei – have been restricted in their business, other companies are eyeing this as an opportunity to get a bigger share of the market.
ASML Holding, the Dutch company that is one of the largest suppliers in the world of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry, said that it has accelerated its Chinese business development. Infineon Technologies, a German semiconductor manufacturer, also said recently that it plans to prioritize China for future development, and said that only a fraction of its chips are subject to the US ban.