Huawei is to open a European Research Institute (ERI) to manage its growing number of European next-generation network research and development (R&D) facilities across the region.
Based in Leuven, Belgium, so as to be close to the EU power hub and other partner organisations, the ERI will oversee the work of 18 disparate R&D centres, employing 1,200 people in eight different countries.
The centre will be headed up by current Huawei European R&D boss Zhou Hong, while former European Telecommunications Standards Institute director general Walter Weigel takes over as vice-president.
The Chinese network hardware and services supplier hopes the ERI will help the EU achieve its Digital Agenda targets and further strengthen its partnerships with industry and academia in Europe.
Huawei rotating CEO Guo Ping said: “As digitisation transforms every business into a digital business, Huawei is working with its partners to achieve a smooth transition towards 'Europe 4.0' – the digitised European Union of the future in which everyone and everything will be connected.
“Our aim is to help Europe achieve smart growth and build a better-connected Europe.”
5G a priority
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A clear priority for the ERI will be to provide support for various 5G mobile networking projects that Huawei currently has underway, including the EU’s Metis and 5G-PPP programmes.
The supplier is currently conducting joint research into future mobile networks and implementing a 5G test-bed at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, while over in Munich, it has launched a 5G Vertical Industry Accelerator and already has a test network up and running, simulating real-world scenarios in vertical industry sectors.
In 2014 it signed more than 200 technical collaboration agreements with various partners in Europe, and collaborated with more than 120 academic institutions.
Huawei said the launch of the ERI underscored its commitment to delivering on European investment plans.