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December 10, 2012

Huawei Looks to Double Down on European Front

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

While these days, a combination of recession and austerity makes the European market look less than attractive to many companies, one company is looking to ramp up its European presence by double and then some. The company in question is Huawei (News - Alert), and they're planning some big moves for Europe over the course of the next few years.

Huawei has plans to not only double its employee numbers in Europe within the next three to five years--boosting the total roster from around 7,000 to around 14,000--but also has plans to open a research center in Finland with making new smartphones in mind. While some countries have had problems with Huawei's rapid expansion--Australia banned Huawei from construction in Australia's national high-speed Internet network and the United States has called Huawei equipment useful in "Chinese espionage"--Europe does not seem to have any problems with Huawei, sufficiently so for Huawei spokesman Roland Sladek to say that "Europe has proven to be quite an open business environment for Huawei."

Image via Shutterstock

As for the new research center, Huawei is planning a 70 million Euro (around $91 million U.S.) budget for its construction over the course of five years, bringing the total number of research and development centers Huawei has in the region to 11. Their decision to launch it in Finland, meanwhile, likely has former mobile device top dog Nokia (News - Alert) sweating bullets, as Nokia has had troubles enough in recent days. Things only get worse for them in light of recent word that one of the things Huawei will be looking to research is a Windows Phone (News - Alert) 8 device line, cutting into Nokia's spotlight. Huawei, however, didn't provide an estimated launch date for their new Windows Phone 8 device, saying only that its plans were "short term" in nature.

Since mobile devices accounted for nearly a quarter--22 percent--of Huawei's business in 2011, it's easy to see why they would want to keep up the flow of business into mobile devices, and do so by expanding not only their research and development capabilities, but also by expanding their employee base. Windows Phone 8 is still comparatively new, and still--especially as compared to iOS and Android (News - Alert)--a very small part of the market. With some new innovations going into the Windows Phone 8 device line, maybe Huawei can help break loose some of that firmly-entrenched market that the big two firms in the market currently enjoy.

There are some very big possibilities afoot for Huawei, and hopefully, they can capitalize on recent successes to bring more noteworthy products to the market and give consumers more choice, which generally helps improve the market as a whole by spurring innovation and development. Just where Huawei finally ends up remains to be seen, but the possibilities undeniably remain.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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