Huawei plans to design 5G in Europe. The head of the Chinese company for this geographical area announced on Tuesday (February 4th) that the telecommunications giant will install “production units” on the European continent, as the group tries to fight the pressure Western countries to ban its activities. “Huawei is more committed than ever to Europe,” said Abraham Liu, the group’s vice president for Europe, at a reception to mark the Chinese New Year in Brussels.
“We have decided to set up production units in Europe so that we can really have the 5G for Europe designed in Europe,” he added, welcoming the idea of “spending the next twenty years here”. The announcement comes just days after the European Union (EU) partially opened the door to Huawei. A week ago, the EU published a series of strict recommendations for the deployment of the 5G network in Europe to prevent any ‘security risk’, but did not ban Huawei on suspicion of US spying.
A way to soften Brussels
These recommendations, concocted by EU member states and the EU executive, call for “applying relevant restrictions for suppliers considered to be high risk” without naming any companies. The publication of these non-binding measures for the 27 EU member states followed the partial green light from the UK government to Huawei’s participation in its own 5G network.
The EU recommends to “mitigate security risks” to make “necessary exclusions (…) for critical and sensitive assets (…) such as network management and orchestration functions”. The establishment of factories in Europe would help persuade EU member states to abandon tough measures against Huawei. Now all eyes are on Germany, which has delayed its ban decision.
Already more than 13,000 employees and 23 research centres in the EU
In his speech, Abraham Liu acknowledged that the world of technology was “increasingly involved in geopolitical issues, trade negotiations and diplomatic dialogue between nations.” “Any suspicion motivated by political reasons does not meet the challenges ahead,” he told Washington. He also urged Europe, the United States and China to “invest more in political discussion to talk about collaboration and common rules.”
Huawei claims to employ more than 13,000 people and runs two regional centres and 23 research centres in 12 EU countries. The Chinese group is one of the world’s leading providers of network technologies, and one of the few — along with European telecom sities Nokia and Ericsson — capable of building 5G networks.
Fear of the coronavirus epidemic is spreading worldwide and is causing large Chinese companies to adapt. While the latest death toll of the disease reports nearly 500 victims and 24,000 confirmed cases, Chinese exhibitors planned at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona want to reassure their customers at all costs. According to a report in Le Figaro, Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE decided that their representatives would leave two weeks before the international mobile mass, scheduled for 24-27 February 2020, in order to be quarantined. A necessary delay “to ensure the health and safety of all our staff,” ZTE said.
Chinese telecom players — including Huawei — are not slinging over resources, as 2020 opens a crucial period for the deployment of 5G globally. They have been investing in this technology for several years and intend to actively participate in its launch in Europe.
South Korean manufacturer LG simply cancelled its participation in the event. “This decision eliminates the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders,” the company said in a statement released. Wednesday, February 5, 2020.