Why Global Collaboration is Critical for Driving Innovation
From the medical industry to the tech sector, collaboration benefits companies and consumers alike
By Joy Tan, SVP of Public Affairs, Huawei USA
The Covid-19 pandemic has showcased how vital global collaboration is to tackling society’s biggest challenges.
Researchers around the world joined forces and sprang into action earlier this year to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. While development normally takes years, there are already several promising inoculations. International cooperation has been essential because of the magnitude of resources required to speed progress. For example, American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. worked with the German drug maker BioNTech to develop its highly touted vaccine.
Covid-19 testing programs have also benefited from the global collaboration, such as the rapid and cheap testing kits Senegal’s Institut Pasteur developed with British biotechnology firm Mologic.
Even beyond medicine it’s been proven time and time again that collaboration is essential for fostering innovation and driving economic growth. Consider international trade. When the U.S. and China opened up trade relations around 40 years ago, it paved the way for the landmark technological advancements consumers now enjoy every day. Many groundbreaking products have been designed in the U.S., manufactured and assembled in China, and then shipped to consumers around the world. This system has accelerated the pace of innovation, quickly producing cost-efficient products.
As China’s tech sector has grown rapidly in the past few decades, trade between the two countries has continued to become more intertwined. Huawei – which is headquartered in China and has offices and innovation centers around the globe – is one of the world’s biggest buyers of semiconductor chips, purchasing chips from U.S. companies like AMD and Intel for PCs and servers, and smartphone chips from Qualcomm.
And it’s not just physical products that are bought and sold between U.S. and Chinese companies, there is also a thriving intellectual property market. Since 2001, Huawei has paid more than $6 billion to license IP from third parties, 80 percent of which was paid to U.S. companies. Global companies are taking advantage of Huawei’s technologies too; since 2015, Huawei has received more than $1.4 billion in licensing revenue. Developing cutting-edge technologies takes considerable time and investment, so licensing IP offers a great way for companies to share their advancements while also making a profit. Consumers also benefit by getting access to the latest technologies faster.
As the mass availability of Covid-19 vaccines help many different industries return to business as usual, and thus boost the global economy, governments should continue to consider policies that promote global collaboration for the benefit of everyone.