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Chinese tech giant Huawei goes into pigs

Chinese technology company Huawei has announced to go into pig farming as the company explores growth areas outside smartphones.

Last week, Huawei launched an artificial intelligence pig farming project. According to the South China Morning Post, Duan Aijun, president of Huawei’s machine vision business, made that announcement on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo without elaborating.

Facial recognition could be one of the ways how Huawei can play a role in pig production. - Photo: Henk Riswick
Facial recognition could be one of the ways how Huawei can play a role in pig production. - Photo: Henk Riswick

Fresh revenue sources, pigs are profitable

Putting the development in perspective, the SCMP stated that the move shows the company continues to seek fresh revenue sources after its mobile phone business was crippled by US trade restrictions. Swine farming, however, has been very profitable in recent years as supplies have been short due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic.

The step into pig farming is not unique. The Shenzhen-based company has announced to go into other growth areas, including cloud services, smart vehicles and wearable devices, as well as seeking to upgrade traditional industries like coal mining.

From backyard farming to modern pig facilities

As is well-known, China houses half of the world’s live pigs. The country’s industry is evolving from backyard businesses into large-scale farming. The SCMP mentions that JD.com, NetEase, and Alibaba have all sought to give China’s pig farming industry a technological upgrade.

One of the AI solutions Huawei has been working on over the last few years is facial recognition technology, the BBC website recalls. Similar technologies are also being introduced in swine production, for instance in 2018 by the company Yingzi.