Huawei recently announced the inauguration of its Paris Innovation Centre, which stands as testament to Huawei’s commitment to fostering a collaborative relationship with its partners, from large organizations to burgeoning SMEs. The company’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Vicky Zhang, emphasizes, “only by working together can we build the healthy ecosystem to enable Europe’s economy to thrive.”

The centre stands to benefit from Huawei’s annual investment of €2 million, dedicated to enhancing innovation and knowledge sharing. It also proposes to aid in resources allocation for integration, verification, and market support. To illustrate, Huawei, founded in 1987, can relate to the challenges confronted by SMEs in Europe, having transformed from a small enterprise itself.

Meritoriously replacing Huawei’s Paris OpenLab that has partnered with over 200 firms since 2018, the Innovation Centre highlights end-to-end support systems for partners. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the central pillar of Europe’s economy, employing over half of the collective workforce. Amid the staggering 25 million companies in Europe, a mere 0.1% constitute large firms, while a substantial 60% are sole proprietors.

Noticeably, CEOs of SMEs recognize the necessity of digitization but often require guidance on initiating the transition, thus underscoring the role of the Innovation Centre. The dialogue at the event revolved around the advantages of European SMEs embracing digital transformation.

Said Horst Heitz, Chair of the SME Connect Steering Committee, “The advantage of SMEs and startups are their ground-breaking ideas and innovative approach to business and technology. However, in order to stay competitive, they need to enhance their internal structures, processes, cyber resilience and more. Full digitalisation and adjustment to the fast-paced European market is a must. Here is where we can nurture their growth and provide support.”

This viewpoint was agreed upon by Julia Devos, Head of New Champions at the World Economic Forum, who highlighted that, “SMEs are the backbone of the economy and are crucial for a sustainable future. Together we can devise a support system to help them prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the future.”

François Mercier-Tigrine, Co-founder and Scientific Director of HD Rain, accentuated the pivotal role of SMEs, especially the ones involved in deep tech. “New technologies need support in financing and access to markets, for example via partnerships with institutions and big companies. Huawei’s Digital InPulse program exemplifies how large corporations can assist SMEs in discovering new opportunities in unfamiliar markets.”

In sync with the larger ambitions of the Huawei Connect event, the announcement of the innovation centre reiterates Huawei’s commitment to Europe. The region holds immense significance in Huawei’s global operations. In the words of Jim Lu, Senior Vice President and President of the European Region, “Huawei will continue to stay customer-centric, create value for customers and partners, strengthen innovative collaboration with European partners, help cultivate local digital and green talent, and further grow our R&D investment in Europe. We anticipate contributing our share to accelerate Europe’s green and digital transition.”