It’s been a busy two months for Larking Huang, Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Australia.
When Executive Traveller calls into his impressively uncluttered office at Chatswood, just over the harbour from Sydney, Huang has only just returned from a trip to Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen and has another, to Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress event, on his schedule.
“Over the past few months I’ve been to China four or five times, Europe twice, and I was in Melbourne a few times as well,” Huang shares.
It’s a pace shared by many executives and business travellers, and like them, Huang is largely a creature of habit.
This article is produced in partnership with HUAWEI
Much of Huang’s flying is done with Cathay Pacific. “I’ve been a Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Diamond member for many, many years,” he relates. “I often get onto a flight and I know all the crew, and they know me!”
For his trips to Shenzen – home to both Huawei and his family – Huang favours the overnight CX138 flight to Hong Kong, “especially if I’ve got a full-day of meetings in Shenzhen.”
“I’ll go to the Qantas first class lounge, have dinner and a shower, then I get on the plane and go straight to sleep. At Hong Kong I have the company driver pick me up, 45 minutes later and I’m at my house. I’ll have a shower, have breakfast with my family, and it’s still before 9am.”
Huang’s trips to Europe often include Dusseldorf, which is the base for Huawei’s European headquarters, and London.
“I’ll use Cathay Pacific if they have a direct flight from Hong Kong, if not I will use Emirates, because from Dubai you can get to any city of Europe.”
With so many flights and connections, Huang is a firm adherent to the philosophy and practice of travelling light. “I just need hand luggage and a laptop bag. If I go for three or four days I bring three or four shirts, one suit and one piece of sportswear.”
There’s also room for the tech that keeps Huang connected to work and family, wherever he may be.
“I remember when I went to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress in 2019, I flew with Emirates and had a layover in Dubai. I had to join a one-hour video conference call back to Shenzhen so I went to a the lounge with my phone (a Huawei Mate 20 Pro) and laptop (a Huawei Matebook 14) and earbuds (the Huawei Freebuds3, of course) and did a proper video conference. This is what so many executives have to do these days.”
Despite those long and frequent flights Huang says he experiences little trouble with jet-lag, although he laughingly admits “as I become older I am starting to feel some jet-lag. But if you keep your body fit enough, it definitely helps you handle jet-lag. That’s why frequent travellers must make time for some exercise.”
Part of Huang’s daily wear is the Huawei Watch GT 2 – the latest model in the company’s line of fitness-friendly smartwatches.
“Sometimes after spending so long on a plane, the watch tells you that you didn't even make 100 steps that day. There’s so much sitting: in the airplane, in the car, in meeting rooms. So you know you need to go to the gym or do some running.”
Staying fit on the go
“I have a professional soccer background, so wherever I go, if I stay more than three days I will try to get to the local soccer club to do some running and social playing, get to meet some new friends.”
In spite of Huang’s busy schedule , or perhaps because of it, he takes relatively little sleep. “I only sleep about five hours a day,” he days – “but I make it count, it’s a good deep sleep, because the quality of sleep is what’s important for me.”
Huang relies on the Watch and the companion Health app on his Huawei smartphone to track and analyse each night’s sleep.
“Sometimes you feel like you slept well, but if you look at the numbers, your deep sleep was maybe less than one hour. So in the morning you feel good, but after two hours you feel very tired. So I check my sleep report every morning and follow the app’s advice to get a better sleep the next day.”
Huang turns his early morning starts into “a proper breakfast, especially if I'm with my family. I'm not a person who likes do anything in a rush, that's why I wake up so early.”
“I also read for one hour every day, to get myself into a wider world. I'm doing a lot of reading on history now, trying to understand the background to relationships between Europe, America and China.”
Make quality time for your family
Routine is a cornerstone for many executives – life comes with enough surprises and curve balls as it is – and for Huang, part of that routine is keeping in touch with his family.
“You have to make time, but it has to be quality time. You can’t always have a commitment on the quantity of time, but you can ensure the quality of the communication, and that is what’s important. If you spend only five minutes with your kids or wife, don’t do anything else during those five minutes. Make sure the quality is there.”
“I also send them photos from wherever I am. At home we have the latest Huawei smart screen, it will possibly be in Australia this year. It's a very big screen and I can share photos of where I am, for example I’ll be at a really nice restaurant, and they automatically display at my home.”
It’s this interconnected ecosystem which will increasingly be a focus for Huawei, Huang says. The brand is best known for its smartphones and lately, smartwatches – if less so in Australia for its Matebook laptop line, although Huang wants that to change in 2020.
“We have done some great stuff with the Microsoft Store in 2019, next we are going to expand our notebooks to all retail channels.”
But to stitch all the Huawei products together – “the phones, watches, audio, laptops, Internet-of-Things devices – we will launch an ecosystem,” Huang says. “We want to improve the consumer experiences, because the DNA of Huawei is really customer-centric, so we are going to build a Huawei ‘smart devices’ ecosystem.”
Harnessing the power of AI
Artificial intelligence will provide not only the invisible building blocks of this interconnected ecosystem but thread its way into Huawei devices without getting in the way, Huang says.
“From Huawei’s perspective, we try to really put AI into daily functionality on the phone. For example, when you take photos, AI can help recognise if you’re looking at a person, a pet or some food, and change the lighting and parameters to make sure you get the best photo. You don't even know you are using AI, but it really improves the experience.”
Another example, and a favourite of Huang’s, is real-time language translation.
“I'm okay to speak Mandarin and Cantonese, English, some German, but I'm not very good at Spanish. Now in Spain sometimes you go to a really local restaurant and the menu is all in Spanish, so I use the phone to get a translation into English.”
Spain is tipped to see the reveal of some exciting new Huawei products at the 2020 Mobile World Congress, to be held in Barcelona in the last week of February, while late March will mark the debut of the flagship P40 smartphone series.
This article is produced in partnership with HUAWEI