Shenzhen-based Huawei is expected to open a 400-person chip research and development factory outside Cambridge in the heart of the U.K.’s silicon chip industry, China Radio International quoted a Saturday report by the London-based Financial Times as saying yesterday.
Located in the village of Sawston, about 11 kilometers from Cambridge, the plant is built for the research and development of broadband network chips.
The facility, where former stationary business Spicers used to reside, is due to operate by 2021 and to create up to 400 jobs by then.
The Financial Times concluded that Huawei’s decision to make chips in Cambridge would create powerful competition for the region’s semiconductor talents.
Huawei plans to build several tall buildings on the land and has said it could fund a new medical center, bus stop or whatever the local residents want on an unused part of the site. The firm has also said it could eventually develop artificial intelligence there.
The nearby Arm Holdings, which is the U.K.’s biggest technology company, has invested heavily in its workforce in the area and is part of the reason Cambridge has become a silicon center specializing in chips.
Of the thousands of people Huawei employs in the U.K., around 120 are in Cambridge.
The news is yet to be confirmed by the company, but its founder Ren Zhengfei did mention during an interview with the BBC in February this year that the company would open an optical chip plant in Britain after purchasing around 500 acres (202 hectares) of land in the county of Cambridge, in a bid to export optical chips to other Western countries without transporting chips from China.
Huawei wanted to lead the world in optical chips and was determined to expand its investment in the U.K. The company would manufacture and sell optical chips to other Western countries under the oversight of the U.K. Government, Ren added.
China has called on Western countries to resist external pressure and make the right decisions independently on whether to involve Huawei in building its 5G communication network.
Chinese Ambassador to the U.K. Liu Xiaoming made the comments in his signed article published in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper last month.
The ambassador added that “Huawei has had a good track record on security over the years.”
In Britain, Huawei has contributed 2 billion pounds (US$2.58 billion) to the economy over the past five years through investment and procurement, and created more than 7,500 jobs in this country, Liu noted.
Across the world, the company has built more than 1,500 communications networks in more than 170 countries and regions and provides services to more than one-third of the world’s population.