Huawei today pledged £10m to UK universities to fund research projects in telecommunications technology.
The money will come from the £1.2bn investment the Huawei announced in September 2012 in a bid to bolster its presence in the UK, which has already gone towards building new research and development facilities, as well as a UK headquarters for the company in Reading.
The £10m will be split between six universities, including the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton. It will be used on projects including advanced multimedia, IT and optical technology, green radio, 5G technologies, optical technology, wireless communications and product engineering.
Huawei hopes the findings will enable it to improve on its own products, used by large telecoms companies in the UK such as BT and EE.
“This collaboration with UK’s universities is an excellent initiative,” said Victor Zhang, CEO of Huawei UK. “As the global technology economy continues to grow, new innovation is fundamental, and these research projects will ensure the UK is at the forefront of developments in wireless, multimedia and advanced communications.”
The investment has gained the support of the UK government. MP David Willetts, minister for universities and science – and the man appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron as Huawei’s key government contact – praised the move.
"This investment is a vote of confidence in UK universities and their world-leading science and technology skills,” said Willetts.
“We want to encourage greater links between innovative businesses and our research-focused universities. Attracting global companies, like Huawei, shows we are realising these ambitions."
Huawei has always emphasised how much of its revenue it puts into R&D – over 10% annually – with 2012’s levels reaching $4.8bn.
"As a global leader in the technology industry, we believe we have a responsibility to nurture the next generation of talent,” said Zhang.
“The research partnerships we’re announcing today with British universities are a sign of that commitment, and we passionately believe that greater collaboration across cultures fosters a unique learning environment and a truly global workforce that benefits everyone.”