Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) on Monday said it plans to invest US$3.1 billion in Italy over three years, as the firm looks to strengthen its foothold in Europe after the US labelled it a major security risk.
Huawei — a leader in next-generation 5G wireless technology — is subject to US sanctions over concerns about its ties to the government in Beijing and Washington has urged allies to shun the firm.
Announcing the investment plan, Huawei’s managing director for Italy Thomas Miao (繆曉陽) said trade tensions between the US and China were not having an impact on Huawei’s business in Italy for now.
“The [Italian] government has an open and transparent policy that will not be affected by the problems between the United States and China,” he told a news conference in Milan.
“Over the next three years, we will invest US$1.9 billion in Italy for the acquisition of supplies and US$1.2 billion in operations and marketing, with US$52 million in research and development,” Miao added.
He said the plan would create 1,000 jobs directly as well as 2,000 subcontracted positions.
Monday’s announcement in Italy followed reports in the Wall Street Journal that Huawei was planning to make major job cuts at its US operations.
“It is not important whether or not we have access to suppliers in the US, we will guarantee the supply to our partners on a continuous basis,” Miao said.
Earlier this month Monaco became the first country in Europe to inaugurate a next-generation 5G mobile phone network based on technology from Huawei.
In March, Italy signed a “non-binding” protocol with China to take part in Beijing’s new Belt and Road Intiative of transport and trade links stretching from Asia to Europe.
In doing so, Italy became the first G7 country to sign up for the massive project, which has sparked unease in the US and the EU as China aspires to a greater world role.
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