Huawei's made its pledge following PM Theresa May's visit to Beijing last week © PA Images
Huawei's made its pledge following PM Theresa May's visit to Beijing last week © PA Images

Huawei to buy £3bn of tech from UK

6 February 2018

Chinese technology giant Huawei has outlined its plans to spend £3bn buying technology, intellectual property and services from the UK over the next five years. 

In a statement, Huawei said the plans were made following a meeting between company chairwoman Sun Yafang and prime minister Theresa May during the UK leader’s visit to Beijing last week. 

It said during the meeting Sun had “reaffirmed the company’s long-term commitment to the UK”.

At the time, May hailed her visit to China’s capital as a chance to showcase “the best of British”.

“Thanks to the drive and innovation of the UK backed by this government, trade between the UK and China is already at record highs,” she said.

“This visit is an opportunity to further showcase the best of British and boost jobs and prosperity throughout the UK.”

Huawei is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Shenzhen. It became the world's largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer after overtaking Ericsson in 2012.

Huawei has described the agreement as a “procurement commitment” and said it will source anything from chipset IPs to financial services from UK companies for both its UK business and for the group more widely. 

It added that as part of its commitment to the UK, it would also help British companies increase their exports to the increasingly lucrative Chinese market.

Sun said the company values its long-term partnership with the UK and would continue to do so post-Brexit.

“The UK was one of the first international markets we entered when we opened our first office there in 2001,” she said.

“We have now been working with our major customers in the UK for more than 12 years, helping to build a better connected UK. Over the coming years we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our customers and partners to help keep the UK at the very forefront for digital age.”

Huawei has worked with both leading telecom operators BT and Vodafone for over 12 years. It has two joint innovation centres in the UK – one in Ipswich with BT and one in Newbury with Vodafone

It said as part of its commitment, the company would also look to increase its Ipswich and Newbury facilities, with 5G a cornerstone of its future work. 

The agreement follows a pledge by Huawei in 2012 to invest and procure £1.3bn in the UK up to 2017. Last year Huawei said the final figure was £2bn. The company employs more than 1,500 people in the UK across 14 offices.

Liam Fox, international trade secretary, said as Brexit looms it is important to ensure that the UK keeps its relationships with international suppliers to boost the economy.

“Huawei’s £3bn announcement is yet another significant vote of confidence in our world-leading tech industry and I’m delighted to welcome their increased commitment to the UK,” he said.

“With 90% of global growth forecast to come from outside the EU, my international economic department is working to ensure Britain continues to benefit from the vast opportunities available as we leave the EU.”

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