Huawei to build its first European factory in France in 2024

  • Huawei’s French Factory:
    • Huawei will commence construction of its mobile phone network equipment factory in France in 2024, with an initial investment of €200 million.
  • Delay Due to Pandemic:
    • Originally planned in 2020, the factory’s rollout was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an undisclosed source familiar with the matter.
  • Location and Timeline:
    • The factory is situated in Brumath, near Strasbourg. While an official timeline was not provided, a French government source expects the site to be operational by 2025.
  • Security Concerns and European Regulations:
    • Despite security concerns leading some European countries to restrict Huawei’s 5G gear, Huawei is proceeding with its European expansion.
  • Debates on China-Europe Cooperation:
    • Amid debates on how to “de-risk” and collaborate with China, the move emphasizes the complex relationship between European countries and China, with the latter being France’s third-largest trade partner.
  • Huawei’s 5G Status in France:
    • In 2020, the French government announced restrictions on renewing licenses for Huawei’s 5G equipment.
    • However, there are indications of a shift in policy, with some cities deciding to extend Huawei 5G licenses following a meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng and French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.
Huawei to build its first European factory in France in 2024
Huawei to build its first European factory in France in 2024 (Image: TS2)

Huawei Technologies, the Chinese tech giant, is set to commence construction of its mobile phone network equipment factory in France in the coming year, according to a reliable source. This move marks the company’s commitment to establishing its first manufacturing plant in Europe, despite certain European governments imposing restrictions on the utilization of Huawei’s 5G infrastructure.

The company initially outlined its ambitious plans for the factory, involving an initial investment of 200 million euros (approximately US$215.28 million), back in 2020. However, the implementation of these plans was hindered by the global disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the source revealed on Monday to Reuters. The individual, who opted to remain anonymous due to lack of authorization to comment on the matter, did not provide a specific timeline for the operationalization of the factory located in Brumath, near Strasbourg. Huawei, when contacted for a response, did not provide any comments.

According to a French government source, the anticipated opening of the site is projected to take place in the year 2025.

Huawei Amid EU Security Concerns

This development unfolds against a backdrop where some European governments have taken measures to restrict or prohibit the use of equipment manufactured by Huawei and China’s ZTE, citing security apprehensions. Concurrently, European leaders are engaged in discussions about how to simultaneously mitigate risks and foster cooperation with China, the world’s second-largest economy. It’s worth noting that China ranks as France’s third-largest trade partner, following the European Union and the United States.

In 2020, the French government communicated to telecom operators intending to procure Huawei 5G equipment that they would not be permitted to renew licenses for the gear upon expiration, effectively phasing out Huawei from mobile networks. However, in a significant turn of events, after a meeting between French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and China’s Vice-Premier He Lifeng in Beijing in July, it was announced that France had decided to extend Huawei 5G licenses in specific cities. The dynamics of this decision underscore the intricate interplay between economic interests and security considerations in the evolving landscape of global telecommunications.

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Source(s): SCMP; China Economic Review

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