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Huawei to spend $4.2b in Britain

By ANGUS McNEICE | China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-07 19:12
Sun Yafang, Huawei chairwoman, meets with Prime Minister Theresa May during May's recent visit to China. China Daily

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will spend 3 billion pounds ($4.2 billion) on British technology and services during the next five years, the company has announced.

Huawei is likely to spend the money in a number of areas, including British telecommunications technology, chipset intellectual property, and financial services from companies in the United Kingdom.

The new commitment comes after Huawei Chairwoman Sun Yafang met with Prime Minister Theresa May during the British leader's three-day trade visit to China.

"We have now been working with our major customers in the UK for more than 12 years, helping to build a better-connected UK," said Sun. "Over the coming years, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our customers and partners to help keep the UK at the very forefront of the digital age."

In 2012, Huawei made a similar pledge to invest and procure 1.3 billion pounds in the UK over five years. Huawei announced on Monday that the company exceeded that target, investing 2 billion pounds during the period.

UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox called Huawei's announcement a "significant vote of confidence" in the tech industry in Britain.

"I'm delighted to welcome their increased commitment to the UK," Fox said. "With 90 percent of global growth forecast to come from outside the European Union, my international economic department is working to ensure Britain continues to benefit from the vast opportunities available as we leave the EU."

While the company is well-known globally for its smartphones, in the UK, Huawei has played a key role in installing and maintaining the "last mile" technology that delivers superfast broadband to around 20 million homes across Britain.

After setting up its first UK offices in 2001, Huawei clinched a game-changing supplier deal with British Telecom, also called BT, in 2005, to roll out the latter's 21st Century Network data network program.

Huawei now employs 1,500 people in the UK in 15 offices, including its head office in Reading.

In November, Huawei and BT announced plans to create a 25-million-pound research hub at Cambridge University aimed at developing future technologies in mobile and internet infrastructure.

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