Chinese firm says UK is playing a “significant” role in developing future technologies to reshape people’s lives. Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey was amongst the 400 guests at its Summer Reception celebration event in London last night
Huawei celebrated 15 years since entering the UK market last night, revealing it is on track to achieving its £1.3 billion investment commitment made to David Cameron in 2012.
The Chinese firm, which had a global turnover of $60.1 billion last year and is the third biggest smartphone brand globally (108m sales in 2015), hosted its sixth ‘Summer Reception’ at the plush Banqueting House venue, opposite 10 Downing Street in London yesterday evening (June 13).
Since entering the UK in 2001, Huawei has grown staff numbers to above 1,100 (up from just 300 in 2003) across 15 separate locations focusing on developing IT, ICT solutions as well as design. Locations include a new head office in Reading, offices in London, Banbury and two R&D departments in Ipswich and Bristol (acquired CIP Technologies), in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
These are part of Huawei’s five year £1.3 billion investment commitment made to the UK government, which is due to be achieved by next year. This would include £650 million in direct investment, and £650 million in procurement describing the UK as one of the most ‘open economies in the world,’ and a ‘highly desirable location for investment.’
Major investments from Huawei into the UK to date include £5 million into a new 5G ‘Innovation Centre’ at the University of Surrey last year. It has also partnered with 10 “leading universities” including Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College for various science and innovation projects and labs.
“Huawei’s investment in the UK over the past 15 years reflects its confidence in Britain’s digital economy, and recognition of the success we’ve had in creating the right environment for businesses to grow and flourish,” commented Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey who spoke at the event.
In recent years, Huawei has secured significant agreements with the likes of BT for provision of Superfast broadband. It also claims to work with every major telecoms services provider in the UK, having agreed notable deals with EE for upgrades to 2G (2011) and 4G network rollout (2014), as well as Vodafone for its own network upgrade, Project Spring (2014). It also signed a deal with TalkTalk (2012) to build its YouView set boxes, which surpassed one million sales in 2014.
Huawei UK chairman Lord Browne Madingley, recently back from a global board meeting in Shenzhen to discuss the UK’s progression, told the 400 in attendance that the UK is now playing a key role in developing technology for the future.
“The Summer Reception is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements and to reaffirm our commitment to the UK. Huawei contributed almost £1 billion to the UK’s GDP through 2012-2014 and we are on track to deliver our £1.3 billion investment commitment by the end of 2017. Through this commitment the UK will play an increasingly significant role in helping Huawei develop technologies of the future. It will transform the way communicate, the way we work and the way we live.”
He added: “From a small office in London in 2001, we have grown considerably. Our ambition is the build a better connected world and this requires investment in the research and development of technological innovations. In 2015 alone the company invested more than $9 billion in R&D and its been a focus of Huawei in the UK too. Huawei’s commitment to investment in R&D in the UK, through university partnerships or bespoke facilities will keep the country at the forefront of global digital innovation. And through this commitment, the UK will play an increasingly significant role in helping Huawei to develop the technologies of the future that will transform the way we communicate, work and live.”
Huawei has also confirmed the number of graduates of its ‘Seeds of the Future’ programme is to exceed 150, just six years after launch.
The programme, is deigned to promote careers across science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Students are selected and sent to China for one month to embark on a programme designed to develop their understanding of the company’s core products and solutions.
Eight new graduates set to fly out to Beijing and Shenzhen in September, following on from the seven graduates successfully recruited in 2015. They will rotate through different departments and roles, gaining understanding and experience of the company’s overall operations in the UK, before joining a specific team and working on a delivery project.
In addition, Huawei yesterday announced a new extension to the scheme dubbed, ‘alumni programme’ which will provide technology workshops and networking events, as well as career advice and opportunities for undergraduates who have participated in the programme to help further develop skills and talent.
Vaizey added: “It’s great to see Huawei’s commitment in helping British students gain digital and career skills with its Seeds for the Future scheme. Government is working closely with the private, public and voluntary sectors to make sure everyone has the tools they need to succeed and help drive the UK’s continuing economic growth.”
Executive director of Huawei Board and chief Strategy Marketing Officer William Xu concluded: “We are proud of the work Huawei has achieved in 15 years and our ongoing commitment to building a better connected UK. Over the next 15 years, we at Huawei will continue to work closely with our partners, developing new ideas and pioneering innovations, which will help foster a healthy and robust ICT ecosystem. ”