Huawei says it has received local council approval to begin construction on a new R&D and manufacturing facility in Cambridge, UK. The facility will become the company’s optoelectronics business international headquarters.
The £1 billion ($1.23 billion) first phase of construction will see the establishment of 50,000 square meters of facilities across 9 of the 500 acres of land Huawei purchased in Cambridge in 2018. The company says the project will create approximately 400 local jobs. Once operational, the facility will be home to R&D and manufacturing of optical devices and modules for data center and other fiber network applications. It will be situated at the site of a former paper mill and production facility west of Sawston. Huawei already has a presence in the Cambridge Science Park.
"The UK is home to a vibrant and open market, as well as some of the best talent the world has to offer," said Victor Zhang, vice president of Huawei. "It's the perfect location for this integrated innovation campus. Through close collaboration with research institutes, universities, and local industry, we want to advance optical communications technology for the industry as a whole, while doing our part to support the UK's broader Industrial Strategy. Ultimately, we want to help enshrine the UK's leading position in optoelectronics and promote UK tech on a global scale."
The announcement comes as the UK Government has announced a security review of the company in the face of charges by the U.S. and others that Huawei’s relationship with the Chinese Government makes use of its equipment a security risk. Huawei has denied such allegations.
According to the BBC, the council was aware of what was termed “wider comment” regarding the new tenant. However, Councilor Dr Tumi Hawkins told the BBC, "To the planning system, it does not matter who the applicant is."