Huawei veers into facial recognition on pig farms as phone sales suffer

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Chinese tech giant Huawei is venturing into pig farming in a bid to salvage turnover as mobile phone sales stall.

Due to ongoing sanctions preventing the company from entering 5G markets with its smartphones Huawei has announced it is developing pig farming technology. It could be quite a shrewd business move for them as China remains the top pig producer in the world with an estimated 38 million tonnes of pork produced in 2020.

There are in the region of 310 million pigs in China which is half of all the pigs in the world. Huawei said it is launching an artificial intelligence pig farming project to help modernise pig farming.

Facial recognition in animals

This new technology is aimed at facial recognition of the animals which monitors the pigs and can detect or indeed prevent diseases. The new technology will also monitor their behaviour, movements and weight.

As African Swine Fever continues its grip across the world it has been heavily felt in China after emerging there in 2018 wiping out over a quarter of the country’s production.

Other tech giants such as JD.com, NetEase, and Alibaba are also competing in the huge market for technology on pigs farms in China.

This bold move into pig farming technology has been forced upon Huawei to compensate for its struggling smartphone business that has been thwarted by trade sanctions in the United States and other nations such as the UK.

Reports show Huawei’s smartphone sales plunged 42% in the last quarter of 2020 as it struggled with a limited supply of microchips due to the sanctions imposed by former president Donald Trump who feared the company was a threat to US national security.

As a result, Huawei has been restricted to making 4G models as it lacks US government permission to import components for 5G models.

A Huawei spokesman told the BBC: “The issue here is not like there’s any problems with our quality or experiences of the Huawei products. It’s not a level playing field for Huawei as Huawei is caught in between the geopolitical tensions.

The pig farming is yet another example of how we try to revitalise some traditional industries with ICT (Information and Communications Technology) technologies to create more value for the industries in the 5G era,” the spokesman added.

The goal for Huawei in producing this technology is to survive without relying on sales of smartphones.

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Chris McCullough is a freelance multi-media journalist based in Northern Ireland and specialises in all aspects of agriculture. He has spent the past 18 years travelling the globe hunting for the best stories in food, farming and politics. He has reported extensively from overseas, mostly throughout Europe but also from USA, Canada, India, Australia and African countries on various topics. He has won a number of awards for his photos and journalism and is always on the lookout for his next exclusive.

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