Huawei expecting green light for UK-based R&D facility

Huawei is expected to receive permission to build an R&D facility in UK

It seems that US sanctions will not stop Huawei from evolving in the International market. In the past few months, there was a debate about the company’s involvement in the UK 5G market. The debate raises cybersecurity concerns based on new Chinese legislation “China’s National Intelligence Law” adopted on June 28, 2017. Under this new law, as a Chinese company, Huawei could be ordered to act in a way that is harmful to the UK. Despite these concerns, Chinese Telecom giant Huawei is expected to receive funding planning permission late June to build a $494.24 million R&D (Research and Development) center in Britain’s Sawston village.

Tom Fowdy, a British political and international relations analyst, published an opinion on the CGTN website saying that the investment is dedicated to researching new and cutting-edge technologies, which can make a huge contribution to British jobs, industry, and technological prowess. This facility will be operational by 2021 and is expected to bring 400 jobs, states China Daily in an article published in May 2019. In addition, there is a possibility of funding a new medical center and a bus stop. The R&D center is environmentally friendly with solar panels to generate electricity and renewable sources used for heating and hot water for the building.

Located 11 Km away from Cambridge, the facility- occupying more than 200 hectares of land- will be built for researching and developing chips for use in broadband. According to China Daily, Henk Koopmans, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Technologies R&D UK, said he purchased the site for $49.4 million in 2018.

In summer 2019, Huawei submitted the initial plan to build a new R&D center. However, the company withdrew it because of raised concerns on the visual impact of the buildings on the landscape. Late January 2020, the company submitted revised plans for a new R&D center. The revised plans consisted of lowering the floor level and adding a curved roof. In order to secure these changes, Huawei has worked with Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service- a partnership between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council. After these proposed revised plans, a public consultation which was launched in January of this year.

Huawei R&D center will conduct research in many fields including photonics and data communications. According to The Times, former First Secretary Damian Green, commented on the plan by saying, “Announcements like this R&D center are clearly designed to influence the debate and they shouldn’t be allowed to influence it.”

The South Cambridgeshire District Council has been advised to approve the Chinese Telecom giant application in full. However, Trump’s administration has strongly criticized the planning decision due on Thursday June 25, 2020.