€200 million investment
Liang said Huawei would invest €200 million in the first phase of setting up the new 5G mobile base station plant and that it would create 500 jobs. “This site will supply the entire European market, not just France’s,” said Liang, in a news conference.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, are currently being accused by the US of being a national security threat and a spy for Beijing. As well as banning Huawei from supplying 5G infrastructure to the US telecom market, the US is calling on its allies to do the same - pitting America against China in what has essentially become a 5G war.
Contest for Europe’s 5G market
With Europe’s 5G market of great interest to both the countries, this could be a smart strategic move by Huawei, who have always strongly denied the US’s allegations.
It is not currently known whether Huawei’s 5G mobile base station plant plans had the blessing of French President, Emmanuel Macron. However, last November at a joint news briefing with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, Macron, when asked about possible security risks posed by Huawei, said that he would never look to stigmatize any particular telecoms operator or any particular country.
According to Reuters, Liang said Huawei had outlined the group’s plan’s to the French government, and commented “This is not a charm offensive.”
As France is in the early stages of rolling out its 5G network, it has yet to select suppliers. The French government has said that while, in principle, it would favour Finland’s Nokia or Sweden’s Ericsson, that it would also consider Huawei.