Huawei, the Chinese tech giant, has announced details of its proposal to spend £3 billion on intellectual property, services and technology supplied by the UK during the next five years.
Theresa May visited Beijing at the beginning of February, in what was hailed as an opportunity to highlight the best services and intellectual property the UK had to offer. During her time in China, the Prime Minister sat down for talks with Sun Yafang, the chairperson of Huawei. After the meeting, Ms Sun said in a statement from her company that the meeting had been a welcome platform to emphasise the telecoms giant’s commitment to a long term relationship and further development of trade and business systems with the UK.
The Prime Minister said that trade between China and the UK was at a high, and this was due in some part to the innovation and consistent excellence coming out of the UK that was enabled by backing from her government.
Mrs May described her Chinese visit as a great success and said that it provided a wonderful opportunity to highlight British talent and products, which would eventually translate into more jobs and prosperity for UK citizens.
Huawei is a telecoms multinational and provider of mobile and office based telephony solutions. It has its headquarters in Shenzhen, a lively city in southeastern China that links Hong Kong to the mainland. In 2012, Huawei became the largest manufacturer of telecoms equipment and mobile and office based telephony solutions in the world, when it surpassed the production of Ericsson.
Huawei said that the agreement between itself and the UK was one of procurement, and it may source a wide range of products, from financial services to chipset IPs for its UK business systems, and other offices around the globe. Part of the company’s commitment to Britain would also take the form of assisting British firms to do more business and develop more opportunities for exporting goods to China.
Despite Brexit looming, Ms Sun said that the UK’s departure from the EU would not affect the relationship between Britain and Huawei. Ms Sun also added that the company valued the relationship it had built with Britain, as its first international offices were opened in Britain in 2001. For more than a decade, Huawei has worked in the UK to provide mobile and office based telephony solutions that help Britain be better connected, Ms Sun said. She added that in the coming years, Huawei eagerly anticipated a continuing collaboration that would help to position the UK at the very front of digital developments.
Huawei has had a working relationship with leading UK providers Vodafone and BT for more than a decade. Vodafone and Huawei together operate an innovation centre in Newbury, while BT and Huawei have a joint innovation facility in Ipswich. Part of Huawei’s ongoing commitment would take the form of expanding its operations in Newbury and Ipswich, and making 5G an important part of future developments.
Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, said that relationships with international firms were important for boosting the economy, and that Huawei’s agreement was a big vote of confidence in the quality and innovation coming out of the UK’s technology sector.