The report said the plant would employ 400 people and develop chips for broadband networking. However, it is not clear how much manufacturing Huawei would do at the site, which is due to open in 2021. The report said the company could also work on artificial intelligence software at the site.
Huawei has bought a 550-acre site that belonged to Spicers stationery business for £37.5 million and plans to construct several buildings on the site, the report said.
China headquartered Huawei is the world’s largest communications equipment company but is also at the center of controversy. The United States has banned the use of Huawei equipment on the grounds that it could provide secret backdoors to let third parties harvest information, with the most obvious concern being the Chinese state. Huawei has denied that it helps the Chinese government spy on people.
With the deployment of 5G networks imminent this is a key time. Some countries have followed the US line in whole or in part. The UK has said it would allow the use of Huawei equipment in the periphery of 5G networks.
Next: Huawei’s commitment
Huawei’s decision to invest in the Cambridge area is likely motivated by a several things.
The first will be the engineering talent pool in and around the University of Cambridge and the second being that Huawei is an ARM licensee and would be setting its plant down close to ARM’s headquarters. The third may be that it wishes to be seen to work cooperatively those that are prepared to ignore US calls for a ban on Hauwei products.
Huawei already has a large presence in the UK. It employs 1,500 people and has about 120 already employed in Cambridge. It recently committed to spending £3 billion pounds in the UK over the next five years and the Sawston facility may be seen as part of that committement.
In 2018 Huawei had revenue of US$108.5 billion and it employs 180,000 people in more than 170 countries.
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