Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co launched an artificial intelligence pig farming project on Monday as the company pushes into new growth areas while its smartphone business struggles under continued US trade sanctions.

Duan Aijun, president of Huawei’s machine vision business, made the announcement on the microblogging site Weibo without elaborating.

The latest move by Huawei – the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker and China’s biggest smartphone vendor – shows the company is continuing to seek fresh revenue sources after its mobile phone business was crippled by rigid US trade restrictions that cut off access to chips and other US technologies such as Google apps and services. To keep its budget brand Honor competitive, Huawei sold it in November to a consortium of brand partners.

The Shenzhen-based company is now moving into multiple new growth areas, including cloud services, smart vehicles and wearable devices, as well as seeking to upgrade traditional industries like coal mining and pig farming.
With half of the world’s live hogs, China has the world’s largest pig farming industry, which is quickly evolving from a series of small, backyard businesses into modernised, large-scale farming requiring hi-tech support. JD.com, NetEase, and Alibaba Group Holding, the owner of the South China Morning Post, have all sought to give China’s pig farming industry a technological upgrade.
Huawei founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei also announced last week the launch of an intelligent mining innovation laboratory in Taiyuan, the capital of China’s northern coal hub of Shanxi province.

During a round-table meeting at the event, Ren said the company has kicked off a “self-reliance in production” programme, referred to as Nanniwan, under which the company is venturing into coal mining, iron and steel, and music, while expanding in categories in which the company already has consumer products such as televisions, computers, and tablets.

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