Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, has forged an artificial intelligence (AI) alliance with Chinese internet search provider Baidu.
“It should come as no surprise that Baidu and Huawei are working together, because we have many similarities – technology is embedded in our DNA and we have developed our own technologies in order to grow,” said Robin Li, Baidu Chairman and CEO. “The Internet era is evolving into the era of AI. Baidu has been dedicated to the field of AI for a long time. Huawei has a large user base.
Together, Baidu and Huawei can do many things which we were not able to do in the past. The Chinese saying ‘let a hundred flowers bloom’ is a good way to describe our cooperation – today we planted the seeds, and I believe soon they will grow into many flowers.”
“The future is all about smart devices that will actively serve us, not just respond to what we tell them to do,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group. “With a strong background in R&D, Huawei will work with Baidu to accelerate innovation in the industry, develop the next generation of smartphones, and provide global consumers with AI that knows you better.“
The goal is to foster a new mobile and AI ecosystem by leveraging Huawei’s hiAI platform and Baidu Brain, a compendium of the company’s AI assets and services. The two companies will also work together on voice and image recognition for smart devices to enable human-machine interaction. They also plan to jointly build an augmented reality (AR) ecosystem, combining hardware and software to create an immersive AR service for everyday consumers.
All of these should give Shenzhen-based Huawei, China’s biggest smartphone brand, with an important edge in competing against Apple and other major players in the global mobile phone market over the next few years.
With more than 60 years of international development behind it, AI is an umbrella term covering several technologies that include machine learning, cognitive computing, natural language processing and so-called neural networks. Machine learning, for instance, is a type of AI focused on computer programs that have the ability to learn when exposed to new data.
In August, the Chinese government announced its national development plan, which included building up a highly competitive AI industry that would be worth 1 trillion yuan (US$150.7 billion) by 2030.