12 April 2007 | Paul Snell
Telecoms giant Vodafone will up its spend on Chinese components from €200 million (£135 million) to at least €1 billion (£676 million) over the next three years.
The group is launching a China Sourcing Centre that will be responsible for negotiating deals with Chinese manufacturers. The company said it would also make discussions with manufacturers and the Chinese authorities easier.
A spokesman for the company told SM it expected to increase the number of staff in its office in Beijing by around five or six. But, with the exception of one or two new posts, the positions were expected to be relocations from other sites.
The spokesman said it was already sourcing in China on an "ad-hoc" basis and the move was about "formalising the processes the company already has in place in one location".
He said the centre's purpose would be to source goods not for resale, such as laptops and other office equipment for use by the company itself. It will also include technology needed for its network, such as parts used inside the firm's radio masts.
The company already sources components and mobile handsets from China and has manufacturing deals in place to produce Vodafone-branded handsets with Chinese telecoms firms Huawei Technologies and ZTE.
According to the China Daily, Detlef Schultz, Vodafone's director of global supply chain management, said the company wanted to increase annual sourcing to around €1 billion within the next three years. But the spokesman said the figure could rise.