Huawei penned an agreement with Imperial College London to jointly invest in a data science laboratory in the UK, as the Chinese vendor continues to build its presence in Europe.
The laboratory will see Huawei researchers team with academic experts from Imperial to develop new applications for sectors including smart cities, energy, and healthcare. The deal, signed Monday, is the first major corporate alliance for the college's new Data Science Institute, a unit tasked with cultivating big data technology research partnerships with industry.
Huawei committed to investing in next-generation cloud computing servers, a research and innovation fund, and operational costs for the new lab.
William Xu, CEO of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, said the deal maintains the company's position at the cutting edge of technology developments. "By bringing its experts together with our engineers, we believe we can create new products and services that will harness the huge potential of big data."
The Imperial agreement "also bolsters the wider partnership programme we have with British universities," Xu added, referring to the commitment made in December 2013 to invest £10 million (€12 million) in University research programmes by 2017.
Sir Keith O'Nions, president of Imperial, said Huawei's investment "will empower some of the world's leading experts to accelerate the development of next-generation big data technologies."
Huawei opened a UK headquarters in June 2013, as part of a pledge to invest £1.3 billion (€1.5 billion/$2.1 billion) into the country's economy between 2012 and 2017.
The UK commitment forms part of wider European growth that has seen Huawei establish a staff of 7,700 in R&D facilities, and centres of expertise covering finance, marketing, and services throughout the region. The company procured $3.4 billion (€2.4 billion) worth of components, engineering, and logistics services from European suppliers in 2013, and plans to increase that spend in 2014 and beyond.
Ken Hu, Huawei's deputy chairman and rotating CEO, last week said Europe is a key market for the company, with a "deep-rooted history of culture, management, and technology expertise," in a presentation at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Hu reiterated Huawei has no links to China's military or government, and said the company is confident Europe will continue to foster "open and free trade policies" that give Huawei the confidence to invest heavily in the region.
Huawei previously said it doubled its investment in R&D in Europe between 2010 and 2013, and will double the sum again by 2018.
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