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Huawei to build R&D base in Cambridge

By Bo Leung in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-05-07 09:03

Tech giant's facility expected to create 400 jobs; to be operational by 2021

Chinese tech giant Huawei on Sunday confirmed its plans to build and operate an optical device research and development base in Cambridge, the United Kingdom, within the next five years.

The facility, occupying more than 200 hectares of land, will be located in the village of Sawston, 11 kilometers outside of Cambridge and just 15 minutes from the headquarters of Arm Holdings, the UK's largest technology company.

The facility, which is expected to create 400 jobs in the area, is due to be operational by 2021.

It's reported that Henk Koopmans, the chief executive of Huawei Technologies R&D UK, said he purchased the site for 37.5 million pounds ($49.4 million) last year.

It's believed Huawei will build several tall buildings on the land, with the possibility of funding a new medical center and a bus stop. The company has asked local residents to decide what facilities are needed.

The tech giant had said it could eventually develop artificial intelligence there.

According to the Financial Times, Huawei employs thousands in the UK, including about 120 in Cambridge.

The expansion in the university city is part of a five-year 3 billion pound investment plan for the UK that it announced alongside the British Prime Minister Theresa May in February last year.

Arm Holdings has invested heavily in its workforce in the area and is part of the reason Cambridge has become a silicon center specializing in chips.

It's also reported that the Chinese tech company wants to continue to work with University of Cambridge and target their graduates.

"We have a long-term collaboration with Cambridge university," a spokesman for the Chinese company told the FT, pointing to a five-year 25 million pound cooperation and partnership with British telecom service provider BT to fund research.

Last week, the UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked following an inquiry into a leak from a top-level National Security Council meeting.

Williamson's dismissal came after reports in the Daily Telegraph about plans to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK's new 5G network.

The former defense secretary had denied leaking the information.

The United States has accused Huawei of spying on behalf of China, although it has not provided any evidence to support the claim. Both Australia and New Zealand have joined the US in boycotting the use of Huawei kit in 5G networks.

Last month, Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK, had called on Britain to work with Huawei on its 5G network infrastructure.

Liu had urged UK policymakers to reach an "independent decision" and act "in accordance with their national interests".

Ma Si in Beijing contributed to this story.

(China Daily Global 05/07/2019 page3)

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