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Huawei will step up its presence in the global market for computer hardware, a top company official said, as the Chinese telecom giant weathers a US assault on its 5G network and smartphone business.

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Deputy chairman Ken Hu said the strategy is based on expectations that “incredible computing power” is going to be needed as the world turns to complicated and resource-hogging future technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.

“We have a lot of challenges ahead of us. We need to beef up our computing power, explore new architectures, and develop processors that meet people's needs across all scenarios,” Hu said at a tech conference in Shanghai.

Huawei is already the world leader in telecom networking equipment, the number two smartphone producer, and is expected to dominate in ultra-fast future 5G networks. But it has been swept into the trade war between China and the United States, with its future prospects now in doubt owing to a US campaign to isolate the company. A push into the market for computer architecture and software could add a new front in Huawei's battle with the Trump administration.

Hu cited independent estimates saying the market will be worth more than $2 trillion by 2023, adding that Huawei would invest an additional $1.5 billion toward that effort. He gave no timeframe or figures on current investment.

“We will continue to invest,” he said. “Starting with the most difficult challenge ahead of us - making breakthroughs in architecture - to developing processors, we're going to help expand the industry and build out the ecosystem.” 

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