Helping Fight the Pandemic Locally, Around the World

Michael Dortch
4 min readApr 17, 2020


Source: Adobe Stock

In the 1970s, a phrase popular among environmental activists around the world advised people to “think globally, act locally.” Today’s coronavirus pandemic requires global thinking and local action from every organization and individual able to contribute.

Huawei does business in more than 170 countries around the world. The company has adopted an approach to business called “glocalization.” This approach combines leadership from headquarters with autonomous decision-making in each locality. That approach is enabling Huawei to make significant contributions to the fight against the pandemic across the globe — and world media have taken note.

From Bangladesh’s Dhaka Tribune: “Embassy of China in Dhaka organized a knowledge sharing session between a prominent Chinese doctor and Bangladesh’s medical insiders through a video conference recently, while global ICT [information and communications technology] giant Huawei provided all technical supports in arranging the event. Huawei ensured smooth technical integration among all the parties with its video conference solution.”

From Thailand’s Bangkok Post: “The Digital Economy and Society Ministry, together with Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd., are providing AI-assisted solutions with 5G technology to Siriraj Hospital with the aim of enabling output diagnosis results automatically, quickly, and correctly through a high-speed network. This world-class technology will strengthen Thai medical staff capabilities to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic effectively.”

From Malaysia’s Malay Mail: “Telekom Malaysia (TM) has deployed two 5G base stations to provide internet connectivity to medical frontliners as well as patients at Covid-19 quarantine centres….TM is partnering with Huawei for the initiative and the 5G base stations took 3 days to setup.”

And from Forbes: “Since March, Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies…has been donating medical supplies to health institutions in Europe and North America with 10,000 N95 masks, 20,000 isolation gowns, 50,000 medical goggles and 10,000 gloves going to hospitals in New York.”

Huawei is also helping “behind the scenes.” In February, the HUAWEI CLOUD business unit, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, and Lanwon Technology launched a COVID-19 medical image analysis service. The service uses Huawei artificial intelligence (AI) chips and technologies to speed delivery and improve accuracy of medical images doctors use to diagnose COVID-19 and make quarantine decisions. Huawei is offering this service to hospitals in need at no charge.

Some of Huawei’s most sustained successes have been in supplying infrastructure for secure connectivity to rural and sparsely populated areas in China, the U.S., and around the world. As the pandemic forces replacement of many in-person activities with online alternatives, such connectivity becomes more critical. Yet it is in precisely such areas where the digital divide is often greatest.

For access to services such as remote learning and basic telehealth, people need, at minimum, download speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 3 Mbps. In its 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assessed access to broadband connectivity. The FCC report found that found that while 91.3% of urban Americans evaluated have access to these minimum speeds or more, only 56.2% of rural Americans have such access. Huawei is working with carrier and network operator partners around the world to find ways to bridge this gap, as part of the company’s larger mission to bring digital connectivity to everyone.

These efforts are not about selling more Huawei products, nor about aggrandizing Huawei or its leadership. Indeed, in some cases, Huawei has kept its contributions low-key or anonymous to try to avoid political blowback. While there have been isolated negative political comments, they have done nothing to deter Huawei’s efforts to help wherever it can.

I am proud to work for a company of people who believe doing good and giving back are at least as important as commercial success. What about you? If you, your community, or your company is doing something to help fight the pandemic that others might copy, drop me a line at and tell me about it. I’ll do my best to share your stories, because we really are all in this together, and we can all play a role in fighting and coping locally with this latest global challenge.

Note: On April 29, Huawei will host a webinar entitled “COVID-19, Connectivity and Community.” Speakers will include Huawei USA SVP Joy Tan and VP Scott Jamar and Debra Ruh, CEO of Ruh Global IMPACT. They will highlight what Huawei and other organizations around the world are doing to connect and support everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information and to register for this online event.



Michael Dortch

Translator of Bits & Bytes into Dollars & Sense. Ex-Trustero, Ex-Huawei USA, Ex-Ivanti, Ex-ServiceNow,… / @DortchOnIT