Huawei to establish Finland R&D center

Updated: 2012-12-12 10:15

By Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's latest investment to build its Finnish R&D center shows the company's ambition to be a major player in the global smartphone market. The move could help Huawei better explore the European market, analysts said.

Huawei, the world's second-largest telecom equipment vendor by sales, announced on Monday that it will invest 70 million euros ($88 million) over a five-year period to establish a research and development center in Helsinki, Finland.

Helsinki is also the headquarters of Nokia Corp, previously the world's top mobile phone manufacturer.

The initial projects of Huawei's Finnish R&D center will focus on software development for smartphones, tablets and other devices, Huawei said in a statement.

The company added that the Finnish center will work on improving the user experience of existing operating systems such as Google Inc's Android mobile platform and the Windows Phone 8 operating system.

Huawei plans to recruit 30 employees for the center from the outset, with the goal of hiring more than 100 employees over five years, according to the statement.

"It is a good opportunity for Huawei to expand in Finland. The country, thanks to Nokia's contribution, is full of mobile phone R&D talent," said Ji Chendong, a telecom analyst at KPMG China.

Since Nokia is facing a severe market challenge and is cutting jobs worldwide, Huawei can employ enough qualified staff at a good rate, Ji said.

Kenneth Fredriksen, vice-president of Huawei Central, Eastern and Nordic Europe, said: "The open and innovative environment in Finland is an ideal place for Huawei to strengthen its global R&D capabilities for devices, creating opportunities for both Huawei and the Finnish telecommunications industry."

Founded in 1988, Shenzhen-based Huawei has quickly grown into a leading player in the world's telecom industry and a rising star in the global mobile phone market. Wan Biao, chief executive officer of Huawei Device Co Ltd, said previously that the telecom giant aimed to be among the top three mobile phone manufacturers by 2015.

The company expected to ship 60 million smartphones across the globe in 2012, with its total mobile phone shipments reaching 100 million units during the period, according to Huawei.

Europe has been a key market for both Huawei's telecom equipment and device businesses, said Xiang Ligang, a Beijing-based telecom industry analyst.

"Compared with the North American market, the European market is more open for Huawei," Xiang said. The Finnish center can help Huawei produce more localized products and strengthen Huawei's branding in Europe, he added.

In September, the company announced a $2 billion investment in R&D, local procurement and center of excellence initiatives in the United Kingdom.