YANGON — While the US is pressuring European countries to shun Chinese tech giant Huawei over security concerns, more firms in Myanmar are partnering with the controversial company to use its cloud services during their digital transformations.
Huawei provides cloud computing, offering computing power and online storage to companies, including access to artificial intelligence. It is one of Huawei’s fastest-growing areas, receiving support from the Chinese government through public cloud contracts.
On Sunday, Huawei announced on Facebook that Ga Mone Pwint – a conglomerate based in Yangon focusing on retail, trade, brands, property, real estate, hospitality and health care – has chosen its cloud service.
Huawei said it would support Ga Mone Pwint with the core SAP (service aggregation platform) S/4 Hana system that allows the company to manage digital businesses in real-time and provide a personalized user experience.
The Chinese company also said on Oct. 2 that it is providing cloud-based SAP to Vanguard, one of Myanmar’s leading consulting and business solutions providers. Moreover, Myint Myint Khin Company Limited, a well-known traditional food and snack manufacturer based in Mandalay, and GetRide, a ride-hailing service, said they are also using Huawei’s cloud services.
In mid-September, Huawei also revealed that it has been partnering with Ooredoo Myanmar, one of the largest telecommunication providers in the country, to provide its optical character recognition (OCR) cloud service.
OCR technology detects and recognizes characters in images and converts them into editable text. It can read the handwriting on national registration cards and convert it into data. Huawei said Ooredoo users no longer need to manually input Sim card registrations.
Huawei said Global Wave Technology has been using its cloud since April. It is one of the biggest human resources payroll and attendance system software providers in Myanmar, servicing about 200,000 employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Huawei said it has supported the evolution of banking in Myanmar through cooperation with the KBZ, one of the largest banks in the country. In 2018, KBZ Bank cooperated with Huawei to provide the KBZPay digital wallet, which currently has more than 6 million users in Myanmar.
In August, Huawei launched a digital payment cloud, saying the technology has been used for KBZPay.
In early January, Huawei Myanmar chief executive Ding Zhaoyi said the firm’s products and services are being used by telecoms providers in Myanmar like MPT, Telenor, Ooredoo and Mytel.
He said the company is committed to bringing technologies and solutions to support the formation of e-government in Myanmar.
The government in Naypyitaw says it is pushing through e-government reforms and in December 2018 it agreed to borrow nearly US$95 million (123 billion kyats) from South Korea to build a central e-government data center.
Huawei is also trying to gain a foothold in the 5G rollout in Myanmar. Last year, Mytel, a telecoms venture between the militaries of Myanmar and Vietnam tested Myanmar’s first 5G service using Huawei’s technology.
Since last year, the US government hit Huawei with severe sanctions in its escalating trade spat with China. Huawei is accused of having close links to the Chinese government, including making equipment with “backdoors” Beijing could use for spying. The company rejects the claims.
While Huawei was facing severe criticism in May 2019, Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications promised to allow the company to help build the country’s communication network during the Myanmar Indoor Coverage Digitalization Summit 2019, which was jointly organized by the Federation of Myanmar Engineering Societies and Huawei.
In 2018, Huawei also signed a memorandum of understanding for a three-year ICT Talent Development Program with Myanmar’s Rectors Committee.
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