Acquiring knowledge, building strength

Updated: 2015-09-05 07:42

By Cecily Liu(China Daily Europe)

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Acquiring knowledge, building strength

Most of the R&D that Precision Technologies does is on advanced machine tools. Photos provided to China Daily

Chinese companies are investing heavily in research and development in Europe, drawing on the continent's plentiful high-technology and human resources to help them move up the value chain and internationalize their operations.

They often establish R&D laboratories through existing subsidiaries in Europe or by buying European companies with existing R&D capabilities that they can add to.

One of these Chinese companies is the telecommunications giant Huawei. Renato Lombardi, vice-president of Huawei's European research center, says the company allocates its R&D resources with the aim of making the most of what each country's human resources and social networks offer.

In Europe the company has R&D centers in Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Sweden, and it allocates a portion of its R&D work to each country based on its expertise.

The center in Italy focuses on microwave research, which is critical in connecting mobile base stations and networks. Before the center was set up in 2008, Huawei outsourced its microwave business to other companies, Lombardi says. Realizing the importance of developing microwave technology, it decided to set up the Italian center, and Lombardi says that in-house microwave technology has greatly benefited Huawei's global operations.

R&D in Europe is particularly important because Huawei has many joint R&D projects with key customers, and through them the company can stay abreast of the latest trends in the industry, he says.

In the UK, Huawei has R&D sites in Bristol, Cambridge and Ipswich.

Xu Bin, director of Huawei's UK research effort, says: "This long-term R&D investment generates the breakthroughs that are to be the basis for our revenue streams in the future."

The center in Ipswich was set up as a result of Huawei's buying the Centre for Integrated Photonics Ltd, a British research laboratory, in 2012.

"The acquisition was crucial to our UK R&D growth," Xu says. "Since we acquired the center, we have increased investment in its facilities and integrated it closely into the innovation process within Huawei. The center helps our teams around the world design and test the innovations that are vital to our core set of telecommunications products."

Chinese medical equipment company Mindray gained an R&D center in Sweden when it bought Datascope, a US company, in 2008.

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