Chinese innovations ignite wow moments at MWC 2024

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People visit the Huawei booth during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 28, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024 in Barcelona witnessed a vibrant display of cutting-edge innovations from Chinese firms, creating awe among attendees and inspiring the global mobile industry.

This year's mobile tech gala, running from Feb. 26 to 29, attracted around 2,400 exhibitors. Over 300 Chinese firms, spanning a wide range of industries including telecom operators, equipment manufacturers and fiber producers, attended the event, nearly double the number from the previous year.

"Chinese firms have become an integral part of the exhibitors in Barcelona," said Sihan Bo Chen, greater China head of GSMA, an international mobile operator association and the event organizer.

Wow moments

Two girls couldn't contain their excitement after witnessing an eyewear-free 3D tablet integrating 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies at Chinese telecom company ZTE's booth.

"It's a wow! It's incredible and quite impressive," said Seulgi Lee, head of the South Korean startup Thingsflow, after experiencing the 3D selfie technology. After activating the 3D mode with one click, Nubia Pad 3D II, the company's latest 3D tablet, instantly started to convert a large amount of 2D content such as streaming media, games and movies into 3D.

"The eyewear-free 3D experience in games is even better and very impactful," added Jiyoung Lee, manager of Thingsflow.

Li Hongyu, product line general manager of ZTE mobile devices, explained the innovative features of the second-generation 3D tablet, emphasizing its neural network deep learning algorithms and attributing the tech-enabled AI eye-tracking engine to high-speed visual sensors and eye-detection algorithms.

At Xiaomi's booth, the bay blue Xiaomi SU7 car captured attention with its sleek design, drawing praise from technology influencer Adam Butcher, who deemed it "hot" and expressed great interest in purchasing one.

"This smart car is truly making waves at this year's MWC! Since the moment we opened our booth this morning, we've been inundated with interviews from both domestic and international media outlets, with scarcely a moment's respite," said a Xiaomi staff member responsible for the European market.

Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA, praised the top-notch offerings at the Chinese booths. "If you go around and see what they are showcasing, it is really cutting-edge," he said.

"In recent years, Chinese enterprises have demonstrated formidable innovation and research and development (R&D) capabilities. This surge is evident in significant investments in R&D, the establishment of global research centers, as well as the growing number of patents filed," said Luigi Gambardella, president of the Brussels-based international digital association ChinaEU.

5G and beyond

Apart from consumer products, Chinese companies also showcased advanced 5G solutions.

"Chinese companies have brought world-leading technologies and concepts to the forefront of MWC," said Sihan Bo Chen, highlighting examples such as Honor's On-device AI, Xiaomi's "Human x Car x Home" concept, and Huawei's Telecom Foundation Model.

According to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China made its commercial launch of 5G in 2019, and the country has built nearly 3.38 million 5G base stations by the end of 2023, solidifying its global leadership in this domain.

Ericsson CTO for Asia Pacific Magnus Ewerbring commended Chinese operators for their successful deployment and business initiatives in 5G.

"China is very advanced in applying the 5G technology to different industries, such as manufacturing, and I think other operators in the world can derive a lot of inspiration from what's being done in China," he said.

After five years of 5G development, challenges have also emerged, including the saturation of 5G user growth, decelerating traffic and revenue growth and a lack of killer applications in the 5G era, said Li Qiang, general manager of Mobile Planning and Construction at China Mobile.

Speaking at the "5G Beyond Growth Summit" hosted by Huawei during the MWC, Li outlined the company's strategy for addressing these challenges by focusing on the commercial deployment of 5G-Advanced (5G-A), with the goal of achieving full commercialization by 2026.

5G-A technology promises a tenfold increase in network capacity compared to traditional 5G, with the peak downlink rate soaring from the initial gigabit level to ten gigabits, according to Huawei.

During the MWC 2024, Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding to build a "5G-A Country" project with UAE's leading telecom company to shape the Middle East and global 5G-Advanced commercial network demonstration benchmarks and accelerate the digital transformation of the UAE.

"In terms of the number of base stations, connections, and commercial applications, China is almost in an absolute leading position globally," said Sihan. She believes that China's achievements in 5G development could serve as an inspiration to other countries and regions worldwide.

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