Huawei to open $200M R&D centre in UK

Huawei is investing $200 million (€148 million) in a new R&D centre in the UK as part of a wider $2 billion investment in the country, as the Chinese vendor continues to expand its operations in Europe.

Zhengfei, left, and Osborne in China.

Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei confirmed the plan during a five-day visit to China by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who is seeking to strengthen the economic ties between the UK and China.

Currently, Huawei employs over 80 R&D engineers in its existing UK R&D office in Ipswich. The company said it will employ a total of 300 high-tech R&D positions in the UK by 2017, focusing on research in optoelectronics, device design, software development and other fields. The location of the new R&D centre will be announced at a later date.

"One of the most exciting opportunities for collaboration between Britain and China in the next step of our relationship is between our cutting edge, high-tech companies," Osborne said in a statement. "So I am delighted to be visiting Huawei's headquarters with leaders of some of Britain's most entrepreneurial tech companies to welcome Huawei's investment into the UK."

Huawei hosted a delegation of 20 UK high-tech companies during the Chancellor's visit.

Huawei has been making considerable efforts to highlight its commitment to Europe against the background of threats by the European Union to investigate both Huawei and domestic rival ZTE over alleged state subsidies and price, while concerns have also been raised in the UK over security issues related to the companies. Huawei has been essentially shut out of the U.S. infrastructure market over concerns the Chinese government would use Huawei equipment to spy on Americans; Huawei has repeatedly denied those allegations.

The Chinese equipment manufacturer recently opened a new Enterprise Exhibition Centre in Amstelveen, the Netherlands and said it now has over 7,500 employees in Europe, including 800 in R&D, and plans to hire 5,500 employees in Europe during the next five years.

Huawei also this week said it has no plans to make any major acquisitions for at least the next five years, saying it will instead focus on improving its internal management, according to reports. It had been speculated that the company could be interested in buying the struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry.

Meanwhile, Asian social gaming company, Rekoo, also confirmed it plans to set up its European operations in London's Tech City. Rekoo said it has more than 15 million daily PC gamers and 10 million daily smartphone gamers.

For more:
- see this Huawei release
- see this UK government release
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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