Huawei launches Egypt cloud region; releases new Arabic LLM   

  • Huawei launched a cloud region in Egypt in the midst of growing digital transformation and rising demand for generative AI

  • The region covers 28 countries in Africa

  • The vendor also released a new Arabic LLM based on its Pangu model  

Chinese giant, Huawei announced the launch of Huawei Cloud’s Cairo Region in Egypt, which will cover 28 countries in Africa, including Egypt, Ethiopia and Algeria, among others. The company claims to be the first hyperscaler to launch a public cloud in Egypt.

The news follows the company’s announcement of investing $430 million in North Africa in September last year. This included $200 million to set up the region’s first public cloud center, an additional $200 million to support around 200 software partners and 1,300 channel partners.

Huawei plans to spend the remaining $30 million to train 10,000 local developers and educate 100,000 digital professionals.

Arabic LLM aims for accuracy

The company also released an Arabic Large Language Model (LLM), which it claims is an “important step in supporting companies in the region with the digital transformation of vertical industries.” Huawei says this LLM model is the first 100-billion parameter Arabic LLM in the industry. It also says that its LLM’s automatic speech recognition capability has an accuracy rate of 96%, enabling it to cover over 20 Arabic-speaking countries.

“We believe that every country should have AI capabilities to preserve its local culture and that AI models should be developed and trained with local languages, enabling vertical industries to become more efficient,” said Jacqueline Shi, President of Global Marketing and Sales Services at Huawei Cloud.

The training of the dataset follows Huawei Cloud’s Pangu model, which is designed to support the specific needs of vertical industries.

“The Pangu large model from Huawei Cloud aims to lower the threshold for AI development, shorten the AI learning time, reduce AI application costs, and meet various requirements of different customers, allowing each industry to have its own large model,” the company noted.

Apart from Egypt, Huawei Cloud has local cloud regions in Ireland, Türkiye, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. “In 2024, Huawei Cloud aims to continue to increase its overseas presence and constructing a global network. Currently, it covers 93 availability zones (AZs) in 33 geographical regions around the world and provides services for customers in more than 170 countries and regions,” a Huawei spokesperson told Fierce.

Huawei’s cloud strategy  

Huawei is the second largest cloud service provider in China after Alibaba, according to Canalys. Huawei’s cloud business grew by 21.9% year-on-year to touch 55.3 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) in the last financial year. Geopolitical tensions have “adversely affected” the company’s growth, according to the company's annual report.

Citing security concerns, the US imposed sanctions on Huawei in 2019, which has impacted its smartphone as well as telecom gear business. Africa is one of the regions where it continues to grow.

The giant vendor competes with Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, among others, in the global cloud market.

Commenting on how it plans to compete in the global cloud market, the spokesperson noted, “Huawei Cloud focuses on its own technological innovation and value advantages. We have always adhered to the 'Everything as a Service' strategy, through infrastructure as a service, technology as a service and experience as a service, to accelerate customers to unleash digital productivity.”

“Huawei Cloud will continue to implement its 'Everything as a Service' strategy, provide customers, partners, and developers with stable, reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services, and become the 'cloud base' and 'enabler' for industry digitalization to accelerate the intelligence of vertical industries,” added the spokesperson.