By James Artaius 2 days ago
China’s smartphone specialist now providing tech for pig farming and coal mining, as phone sales plummet
Huawei, the Chinese smartphone specialist that once dominated the telecoms industry, has now turned to pig farming and coal mining following plummeting sales for its core business.
Despite once ruling the roost and having produced some of the best camera phones in the world, Huawei’s fortunes have turned swiftly south since falling foul of the Trump administration.
Since being blacklisted by the US as a threat to national security, Huawei found itself locked out of Google’s ecosystem and barred from trading with American suppliers – leaving the once cutting-edge company unable to compete on the 5G frontier, as necessary components cannot be imported.
Consequently its sales sank by some 42% in the final quarter of 2020, and the manufacturer has been forced to find other applications for its technology – which, according to the BBC, includes pig farming and coal mining.
Such avenues can be explored without interference from the US government, thanks to them being huge domestic industries in Huawei’s Chinese homeland. Indeed, China’s pig farming industry is the largest in the world, with the nation being home to half the pigs on the planet.
“Technology is helping to modernize pig farms with AI being introduced to detect diseases and track pigs,” reports the BBC. “Facial recognition technology can identify individual pigs, while other technology monitors their weight, diet and exercise.”
That same approach is being applied to China’s coal mining industry, with Huawei having announced a mining innovation laboratory in China’s Shanxi Province that looks to improve efficiency and safety (and also reduce the workforce).
Huawei turns to pig farming as smartphone sales fall
By Justin Harper
Business reporter, BBC NewsPublished2 days ago
The Chinese telecoms giant was stopped from accessing vital components after the Trump administration labelled it a threat to US national security.
In response to struggling smartphone sales, Huawei is looking at other sources of revenue for its technology.
Along with Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech for pig farmers, Huawei is also working with the coal mining industry.
Reports have suggested that it will reduce its manufacturing of smartphones by up to 60% this year, although it said it can’t confirm this figure.
“The issue here is not like there’s any problems with our quality or experiences of the Huawei products. It’s not a level playing field for Huawei as Huawei is caught in between the geopolitical tensions,” a company spokesman told the BBC.
And so, Huawei appears to be looking for other sources of revenue – moving into cloud computing services, smart vehicles and wearable devices. It even has plans for a smart car.
But it also has its eye on a few more traditional industries.
China has the world’s biggest pig farming industry and is home to half the world’s live hogs.
Technology is helping to modernise pig farms with AI being introduced to detect diseases and track pigs.
Facial recognition technology can identify individual pigs, while other technology monitors their weight, diet and exercise.
Mining coal and data
Earlier this month, Huawei founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei announced a mining innovation lab in northern China’s Shanxi Province.
He wants to develop technology for coal mines that will lead to “fewer workers, greater safety, and higher efficiency” and enable coal miners to “wear suits and ties” at work.
During a round-table meeting at the event, Mr Ren said the company was also expanding into consumer products such as televisions, computers and tablets.
“We can still survive even without relying on phone sales,” Mr Ren said, adding that it is very unlikely the US will remove Huawei from a blacklist that bars companies from working with the Chinese tech firm.