Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies has just launched a new pig farming business powered by artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies as it grapples with falling telecommunications sales.
The project is meant to diversify the company's prospects as its smartphone and telecommunications business struggle under continued foreign pressures.
The company launched the new project this week. Apart from Huawei, other tech companies have expressed interest in applying their technical expertise to the lucrative hog farming industry.
China is home to the world's largest pig farming industry, and it is also the world's largest consumer of pork products. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, China consumed more than 40.3 million metric tons of pork in 2020.
Huawei intends to modernize China's pig farming industry by implementing high-tech large-scale farming strategies. This includes using artificial intelligence software to detect diseases and track livestock. The company also plans to use facial recognition technology to identify individual pigs and to monitor their general health.
Huawei's decision to utilize its expertise in artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, and chipmaking technologies in the pork industry is part of the company's plan to seek fresh revenue sources. The company's core smartphone and telecoms business has been struggling to grow following the cripple trade restrictions imposed by the U.S. and its allies.
Last year, Huawei sold its budget Honor brand to a consortium of brand partners. The company has also taken steps to take advantage of multiple new growth areas, which include cloud services, wearable devices, smart vehicles, coal mining, and pig farming.
Huawei founder and chief executive officer Ren Zhengfei said that the company has already launched several programs, including a new intelligent mining laboratory in the city of Taiyuan in China's Shanxi province. He said that the company is exploring new ventures in industries such as steel and iron processing.
"We can still survive even without relying on phone sales," Ren said.
Due to factors such as U.S. sanctions and the global chip shortage, Huawei's smartphone sales had plummeted by more than 42% during its latest quarter. Huawei's telecoms business also reported record declines as it is being locked out of the 5G development of several countries.