Huawei, a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices, has launched the latest edition of its annual Huawei Middle East ICT Competition in Lebanon. The opening ceremony in Beirut was under the auspice of H.E. Mohammad Choucair, the Minister of Telecommunications, and was attended by leaders from the country’s technology community.

Combining Huawei’s goal of nurturing local ICT talent with its vision to bring digital to every person, home and organization, the Huawei Middle East ICT Competition will run in Lebanon as well as nine other countries across the Middle East. University students are invited to register now for the competition through a dedicated website.

H.E. Mohammad Choucair, Minister of Telecommunications, said: “Lebanon is moving swiftly into the digital era through initiatives in the public and private sectors. Investing in our people is thus a top priority as we aim to reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution. Our cooperation with those in the private sector is paramount to this aim, and we appreciate the efforts made by Huawei to help Lebanon’s young people prepare for promising careers in the ICT industry.”

Mr. Paul Fengnan, CEO of Huawei Levant Region, added: “The advancement of ICT knowledge in younger generations is key to the future prosperity of all nations. Nurturing local talent has always been part of Huawei’s efforts in Lebanon to have a positive impact on the community. For many years now, Huawei has not only led the development of the industry in the frontiers of technologies such as 5G and cloud computing, but has also invested heavily in the training of industry talent and building a talent ecosystem.”

The competition promotes innovation and creativity and acts as a bridge between the classroom and the workforce. It is part of Huawei’s wider talent development agenda to support Lebanon’s national ICT capabilities and the government’s priority to nurture a generation of leaders ready to drive digital transformation.

Contestants are tested on their knowledge of cloud computing, switching, routing, and network security. In addition, the competition gets participants up-to-date with the latest technologies such as IoT, AI, Big Data and most importantly 5G—the future technology which Huawei is leading globally. The competition is a unique opportunity for students to test their abilities in ICT’s most cutting-edge fields, and helps local colleges and universities better understand enterprises’ talent requirements, and optimize their curriculum accordingly.

The competition comprises three stages: a preliminary phase, a national final, and a regional final. The winners of the national level will travel to the international tech hub of Shenzhen, China, to compete in the regional final at the end of November. While in China, the national winners will have unrivaled exposure to Huawei’s expertise in telecommunications, enterprise, and consumer businesses, not to mention a priceless cultural experience and knowledge exchange. The finalists will also be invited to conduct field experiments at Huawei’s specialized labs and research centers in its global headquarters.

The competition provides participants with an online guide and is supervised by university professors and Huawei experts. University professors play the role of student tutors, empowering participants up to the competition final stage, accompanying national winners to Huawei’s headquarters to attend the international final, and discussing with Huawei the future development of the competition and ICT talent ecosystem.

On a regional level, over 14,000 students across the Middle East registered for the 2018 edition of the competition, from which nearly 5,000 attended. Over 200 students passed on to the national finals, and 39 traveled to China to compete internationally, representing 13 universities across the Middle East region.