Business / Companies

Huawei signs deal with UK government to boost clients

By Cecily Liu ( Updated: 2016-05-17 00:37

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei signed an agreement with the UK government on Monday in London to further incorporate UK suppliers into its network of clients, and in the process become more local in its operations.

The memorandum of understanding was signed with UK Trade and Investment, the UK government's trade and investment arm, at the firm's annual suppliers' conference, which is attended by 130 industry representatives, mostly Huawei's existing and potential suppliers and partners.

The MoU focuses on identifying the best UK technology partners for Huawei's global supply chain and supporting Huawei's investment and business development in the UK.

Gordon Luo, CEO of Huawei UK and Ireland, said at the conference that the firm's local suppliers are very important. "We are not just focused on doing business, but also creating a harmonized ecosystem," said Luo.

Michael Boyd, managing director of strategic investment and accounts at UKTI, applauded Huawei's strong relationships with local suppliers. "This event shows very clearly the strength of a relationship between a major company and its supply chain, and that it wants to bring its supply chain together to celebrate the success of what it has achieved."

With 15 years of history in the UK, Huawei already has a large UK supply chain. In 2012, it promised to invest 1.3 billion pounds in the UK in the following five years, of which 650 million pounds will be procurement in the UK market.

The company has already invested 226.9 million pounds in 2013 and 295.1 million pounds in 2014. If Huawei maintains current procurement levels, its procurement investment between 2013-17 would amount to 1.41 billion pounds.

"It's fantastic to work with Huawei because they share our values of working with partners to share success and grow the overall industry," said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president of product groups at ARM, a Cambridge-based firm that designs the processors for Huawei's smart phones.

ARM supplies a few smartphone manufacturers with a basic form of processor, and each smartphone manufacturer build additional functions on it to suit their needs. As ARM makes a profit based on units of smartphones sold, supplying Huawei is very significant because Huawei is currently the world's third largest smartphone brand, said Hutton.

Hutton's views are shared by Alan O'Prey, managing director of Telecoms at the British engineering firm MJ Quinn Integrated Services Limited, who adds that Huawei's global vision and open attitude makes it a great partner.

MJ Quinn started working with Huawei in 2010, and it currently has about seven projects with Huawei, one example being to provide smart cities solutions to Britain's local governments.

Under this partnership, Huawei is providing the equipment and technology connections to local governments, for solutions like smart lighting and smart healthcare, so effectively helping the governments to understand needs from its citizens better and supply them more efficiently. MJ Quinn is the engineering firm to put the equipment in place.

Huawei also has extensive cooperation with key industry bodies in the UK, and last year it joined Tech UK, a British telecommunications trade association.

Paul Hide, director of operations at Tech UK, said having Huawei as a part of the association helps more of its members, who are British telecom industry firms, to work with Huawei and potentially find areas of cooperation.

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