Huawei outlined plans to spend £3 billion on procurement across the UK over the next five years, marking a “major commitment” to the country at a time when the vendor faces increasing political scrutiny in the US.
In a statement, the China-based vendor announced chairwoman Sun Yafang (pictured, left) met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured, right) during a recent visit to Beijing by the latter and “reaffirmed the company’s long-term commitment to the UK”.
Huawei described itself as a “key investor in Europe” and said the agreement will help UK companies increase exports to China.
The agreement follows a pledge by Huawei in 2012 to invest and procure £1.3 billion in the UK up to 2017. Huawei said the final figure was £2 billion and the company now employs more than 1,500 people in the UK across 15 offices.
Notably, the latest announcement only focuses on procurement, and not any additional investment in the country.
The chairwoman, however, commented the company looked “forward to continuing to collaborate with our customers and partners to help keep the UK at the very forefront of the digital age”. Huawei also highlighted separate partnerships with BT Group and Vodafone Group, and said it plans to “to continue making a significant contribution by exploring vital future technologies, including 5G”.
UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Huawei’s £3 billion pledge “is yet another significant vote of confidence in our world leading tech industry”.
Huawei strengthened ties with the UK government as it faces a widely contrasting situation across the Atlantic. The US government is stepping up pressure against Chinese technology companies, with Huawei in the firing line.
AT&T and Verizon have both dropped plans to sell Huawei’s flagship Mate 10 device in the country amid government fears of Chinese spying, while the administration of President Trump reportedly called on other US companies to drop all commercial ties with the vendor.
The US government is also reportedly considering nationalising its 5G network, in a move designed to protect the country against a perceived threat from China.