Ireland at center of Huawei's expansion

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People pass by the Huawei stand during the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 15, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Huawei has announced a 70-million-euro ($76.7 million) investment into Ireland and has relocated one of its business units from Shenzhen to Dublin as the Chinese company continues its expansion into Europe.

The investment will be used to support research and development in the Irish telecommunications sector during the next three years, according to Huawei, which has offices in Cork, Athlone and Dublin.

"Our focus is on long-term investment and building positive relationships with key partners in Ireland," said Huawei Ireland Chief Executive Shen Jijay. "This investment over three years will help us drive innovation and collaboration in Ireland."

Huawei has been present in Ireland since 2004, where it directly employs 500 people, and recent developments now place Dublin at the center of Huawei's European expansion plans.

During the last few months Huawei has moved a mobile software services unit from its headquarters in Shenzhen to a Dublin-based subsidiary, Aspiegel Limited. This unit will oversee mobile services for users outside of the Chinese mainland, Japan and South Korea.

Speaking at a media briefing for Irish reporters in Shenzhen last week, Huawei Rotating Chairman Guo Ping said Huawei will "step up its investments in Ireland".

"The reason Huawei has based its cloud service center for Europe in Ireland is because we have sold hundreds of millions of smartphones in Europe, and we need to offer after-sales services and platform upgrade services to our consumers," Guo said, according to The Irish Times.

The Dublin unit will help maintain mobile services for users, including the management of Huawei-designed applications and the storage of personal information in the cloud.

Guo said he expects more Chinese companies will consider using Ireland as a gateway into the European Union now that the United Kingdom is expected to leave the trading bloc.

The 70-million-euro investment will primarily go toward video, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and site-reliability engineering projects, according to the company. The work will be supported by more than 100 researchers and engineers that Huawei employs across its Irish offices.

At the media briefing in Shenzhen, Guo also addressed the sanctions placed on Huawei by the United States.

In May, the US Commerce Department put the company on its Entity List, preventing US businesses from trading with Huawei.

"The attack from the US, a global superpower, is unethical and groundless," said Guo.

The sanction was followed up by a temporary reprieve, allowing some companies to trade with Huawei. However, Reuters reported last week that the US is yet to process any of the 130 applications it has received from US companies wishing to sell goods to Huawei during the last two months.

"As the only superpower in the world, the US has mobilized resources across the country to crack down on our company," said Guo. "We are certainly feeling the pressure and pain from that. However, Huawei is doing everything it can to survive and thrive."

The US has also placed pressure on allies to boycott the Chinese company. Last week, the UK Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said the government will decide if it will continue to allow Huawei to build network infrastructure in Britain by the fall.

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