Huawei kicks off £1.3bn investment with new headquarters

Chinese networking company Huawei to take 140,000ft² in Reading as part of its £1bn investment into its UK business over the next five years

Huawei today confirmed it was opening new headquarters in the Green Park area of Reading as it ramps up its investments in the UK.

In September this year, the founder and CEO of the company, Ren Zhengfei, pledged £1.3bn to the UK arm of the company, to be split equally between investment and procurement, over the next five years. Opening up the new headquarters is the first significant purchase to come out of this fund, although Huawei would not confirm to Computer Weekly how much the price tag was.

The building itself measures 140,000ft² and will house 450 employees when it opens in April 2013 – although there is capacity to raise this to 1,000. Huawei has also pledged to raise its overall UK headcount to 1,500 over the next five years.

The chosen location will see Huawei become neighbours with the likes of Cisco, Symantec and Logica who have had a presence in the M4 corridor for some years.

“This move marks the beginning of an exciting new period of development for Huawei in the UK,” said Victor Zhang, CEO of Huawei UK. “We opened our first office in here in 2001 and the decision to move to a new headquarters reinforces our long-term commitment to the UK.” 

Huawei currently has two offices in Basingstoke, Hampshire, but has told Computer Weekly it will not be renewing their leases.

The announcement comes at an interesting time for Huawei as some try to stifle its continued efforts to grow outside of its home market of China.

This week, a US Congress Committee claimed its technologies – along with fellow Chinese firm ZTE – posed a threat to national security and could enable the Chinese government to spy or steal intellectual property from American firms.

Although only an advisory report, the committee’s chair Mike Rogers said in a television interview: “I would find another supplier if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and if you care about the national security of the USA.”  

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