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Saudi Arabia partners with China’s Huawei on talent development

The US government has warned Middle Eastern states against doing business with the Chinese tech firm, which has been accused of intellectual theft and enabling the internment of Uyghur Muslims.
This picture taken on Feb. 22, 2021, shows a close-up view of the Huawei Building in Dubai.

The Saudi Digital Academy signed a memorandum of understanding with Huawei on developing local talent. To this end, the two entities aim to sponsor 8,000 Saudis to learn information technology and communication at Huawei-accredited centers. They will specifically study artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity and 5G internet uses, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Huawei is primarily known for making smart phones, portable internet routers and other related devices. The company is controversial and has been accused of stealing intellectual property, enabling the surveillance of detained Uyghur Muslims in China and other ills. 

The Saudi Digital Academy is an initiative of the Saudi Ministry of Communications that aims to build digital capabilities in the kingdom. 

Per the memorandum, the trainees will receive certificates and employment upon their competition of the program. Another goal of the partnership is training people to develop Huawei’s services in Saudi Arabia. The deal was signed at the LEAP technology forum taking place in Riyadh, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The memorandum constitutes the latest example of improving Saudi-China relations. The People’s Republic is currently Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner

Saudi Arabia could anger its main ally the United States by pursuing more technological cooperation with Huawei. In 2020 under the Trump administration, the United States warned Egypt against working with Huawei and other Chinese firms on developing 5G internet networks. 

As the Saudi Press Agency report mentioned, Saudi Arabia is looking to diversify its economy and reduce oil dependence as part of its Vision 2030 initiative. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia announced billions in new investments in metaverse, blockchain and other futuristic technology. 

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