Brussels: Chinese technology firm Huawei will manufacture 5G products worth billions of euros annually in the European Union (EU), the company's representative in Brussels has told Xinhua.
Abraham Liu, Huawei's chief representative to the EU Institutions, said in an interview that the decision came from Huawei's global industrial setup and long-term commitment to Europe, which has a strong industrial base.
5G — which stands for the fifth generation — technology takes a central role in bringing massive changes to mobile and fixed wireless data networks. Globally, Huawei is a leading 5G technology vendor, enjoying an edge over Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia in offering high-tech, low-cost gears to telecommunications operators such as Vodafone.
According to Liu, Huawei has decided to set up manufacturing bases of 5G equipment in Europe, in order to have '5G for Europe made in Europe'.
The company already has supply centers in many parts of the world, including Latin America and the Middle East, but the factory for 5G 'is going to be the first one' outside of China, Liu said.
"We are talking about the manufacturing center for 5G wireless products. It is not only about the product line. It is a full set of manufacturing centre," Liu said.
Boost to credibility
For months, the US government has been prodding its European allies into banning Huawei from participating in the construction of their telecommunications networks. In defiance of US pressure, the EU did not name either China or any specific company in its guidelines on 5G security issued last month.
When asked if Huawei's plan to pursue 5G manufacturing in Europe aims to further improve local confidence in face of the pressure, Liu said there is no need to link the two things together.
"We don't welcome any external political pressure in this case, but as I mentioned, this setup is in for a long term," he said, adding that the company believes it is 'part of the European ecosystem.'
Oxford Economics published a study commissioned by Huawei in November 2019, saying the company contributed 12.8 billion euros (about 13.87 billion U.S. dollars) to Europe's gross domestic product in 2018, sustained 169,700 jobs, and supported the generation of 5.6 billion euros (about 6.07 billion dollars) in tax revenues.
"Because Europe is one of our strategic markets, we have a lot of globally important strategic customers in the region. We believe it will be a smart move to have this 5G manufacturing base set up to support the coming ten, twenty years' development in this market as well as the regions around here," Liu said.
When asked last week by Xinhua whether Huawei's decision to set up manufacturing bases would improve Europe's confidence in the security of Huawei products, former European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding said "yes, of course," adding that manufacturing under European rules "will really be a boost to credibility."
Huawei's presence and operation in Europe was boosted at the end of January, when Britain and the European Union, regardless of the US demand to ban Huawei, announced their respective decisions to allow the company to participate in the building of their 5G networks, albeit with some restrictions.