Chinese telecoms equipment supplier Huawei Technologies Co (華為) yesterday said it planned to establish a subsidiary and a research and development center in Taiwan in an effort to tap into the nation’s talent pool and to benefit from the growing telecommunications market.
The remarks came as the nation prepares to auction off the fourth-generation (4G) spectrum before the end of next year, meaning a new business opportunity for telecoms equipment suppliers.
Currently, Huawei sells its telecoms equipment, such as base stations and end devices including handsets and Wi-Fi dongles, through its sole agent, Xunwei Technologies Co (訊崴), as prior plans to set up a local subsidiary were thwarted by national security concerns.
“Huawei maintains an open but cautious attitude toward setting up of a subsidiary in Taiwan … We respect the Taiwan government’s attitude towards this matter,” Scott Sykes, vice president of Huawei’s corporate media affairs, said yesterday in Taipei. “Taiwan is a huge market and has huge amount of talents.”
With a local subsidiary, Huawei would be able to deepen its ties to local clients and enhance cooperation with local component suppliers.
Huawei operates 23 R&D centers worldwide, including a newly-announced facility in Helsinki, where the Chinese company plans to invest 70 million euros to develop software for mobile devices over the next five years.
In Taiwan, Huawei is also eyeing the new 4G business opportunity.
“We are looking forward to the second half of next year when it is anticipated that 4G LTE [Long -Term Evolution] spectrum will become available in Taiwan. We are very much looking forward to that and participating in the roll-out of the 4G LTE network,” Sykes said.
“Some of those conversations [with local telecoms operators] are already happening. We want to position ourselves as a key supplier,” Sykes said.
Of the 90 commercial 4G Long- Term Evolution (LTE) networks now around the world, Huawei supplied equipment to 40, including the world’s first commercial LTE network launched by Sweden’s TeliaSonera in 2009, the Shenzhen, China-based company said.
The firm supplies base stations to local telecoms companies including Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation’s No. 3 telecoms company, and marginal player Vibo Inc (威寶).
Huawei has seized less than a 1 percent share of Taiwan’s telecoms equipment market, losing to big rivals Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson.
Last year, Huawei purchased US$3.5 billion in components from local manufacturers including Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), handset chip supplier MediaTek Inc (聯發科) and set-top box maker Prime Electronics and Satellitics Inc (百一).