Chinese group Huawei is to invest $2 billion expanding its operation in Britain.
The company thinks it will create about 700 new jobs in the UK in the next five years.
While Huawei is not well loved in the US, which is convinced that the company is installing spy software on its hardware to snoop for the Chinese administration, the UK has been very close to the company. British intelligence and government agencies have been helping the company develop hardware and software which complies with UK standards.
Founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei outlined Huawei’s plan yesterday, when he also met Prime Minister David Cameron, who tried to claim credit for it.
Ren said he liked the way the UK was an open market, which welcomes overseas investment.
The $2 billion investment and procurement plan is all a vote for the UK promoting the development of openness and free trade, Ren said.
Cameron said he always thought that targeting overseas investment would help kick-start the economic growth caused by his government’s austerity measures.
He said he wanted to see more companies invest in the UK as it works to achieve sustainable and balanced growth within the economy. Other than the salaries of workers, all money foreign companies make in the UK heads out overseas and it is not actually spent in Britain, which has to be good for, er, the foreign companies.
Cameron said that the British government values the important relationship with China.
The company, founded by Ren in 1987 after he was made redundant by China’s military, makes consumer devices and enterprise networking equipment after growth in its core telecoms gear market has stalled.
It now works for all the major telecom operators and broadband service providers in Britain.
According to Reuters, Huawei has been actively hiring UK executives, including former government officials and industry figures in a bid to help it fit in.