The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has welcomed Huawei’s US$2 billion investment commitment to the UK and called for greater high-tech collaboration with the Chinese company.
In his speech, Osborne said, “Take your great, high-tech company, Huawei. Some Western governments have blocked it from making investments - not Britain, quite the opposite. I was pleased to welcome its opening of a flagship office in our country in June - and the investment that came with it. I visited the company's global headquarters in Shenzhen to see what more we can do together. Indeed, one of the most exciting opportunities for collaboration between our two economies is high-tech field.”
Osborne’s visit follows a meeting between Huawei Founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei and UK Prime Minister David Cameron late last year, where he first announced Huawei’s plans to bolster R&D, investment, and procurement spending in the UK.
Ren said, "I am proud to welcome the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to our headquarters in Shenzhen. The UK is home to some of the best high-tech professionals in the world. Their creativity is a major asset to our R&D efforts, helping us produce the most advanced and competitive telecoms and broadband services available. Combined with an open and free trade economy, this makes it a very good investment environment for Huawei.”
Huawei currently employs over 80 R&D engineers in the UK, and this will increase to 300 staff in high-tech R&D positions by 2017. The new centre will focus on optoelectronics, device design, software development, and other fields, benefiting Huawei's customers in 140 markets around the world.
Huawei’s expansion in the UK has not been easy. As late as June this year a UK Parliamentary committee report stated that Huawei’s strong presence in the country’s telecoms sector could raise potential national security issues.
Last year a US congressional report recommended that US carriers ‘avoid using Huawei’s equipment’ citing concerns that its equipment could be used to spy on Americans.
Apparently Huawei’s major European presence and with BT and Vodafone has tipped the deal – and the investment is icing on the cake.
The previous Labor government's NBN policy precluded using Huawei equipment. Analysts worldwide strongly suggest that a strong anti-Huawei rumour campaign - ostensibly waged by its competitors – has never been substantiated.
iTWire’s take on this issue is here and we understand that the Coalition is amenable to discussions on the matter.
With Huawei now leading the field in broadband implementation with cost effective technologies like G.fast it is time for the Government and its NBN to think again.