Huawei to Open Research Center in Finland

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PARIS -- Huawei Technologies, a Chinese maker of telecommunications equipment, said on Monday that it planned to open a research and development center in Helsinki next year, accelerating its investments in Europe, where its business is expanding rapidly.

The move illustrates a trans-Atlantic difference in attitudes toward Huawei. The company has been largely shut out of the United States market for network gear because of Congressional concerns about possible security threats -- fears the company insists are unfounded.

While Huawei has faced difficulties in some European markets, like France, it has done better elsewhere. Huawei employs more than 7,000 people in the region, and it says that total could double in the next three to five years. Huawei already has a research center in Italy and is studying the possibility of opening one in Spain. It also recently announced a $2 billion investment in Britain.

The planned center in Helsinki, involving an investment of 70 million euros, or about $90 million, will work on smartphone development, including features like user interfaces and power management, the company said. When the center opens next year, it will employ 30 people, but this could grow to 100 over the next five years, the company said.

The announcement is a plus for the Finnish technology industry, which has been suffering from the woes at Nokia. The company was once the world's biggest cellphone maker, but its market share has fallen sharply in recent years.

"The open and innovative environment in Finland," Huawei said, "is an ideal place for Huawei to strengthen our global R.& D. capabilities for devices, creating opportunities for both Huawei and the Finnish telecommunications industry."

Huawei has been known mostly for its network equipment, but the company is pushing to make a name for itself with its handsets.

Mobile devices accounted for 22 percent of its revenue last year, an increase of 37 percent. That compares with growth of 12 percent for the overall business.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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