Chinese company Huawei Technologies said it had received planning permission for a research and development center with an investment of £ 1 billion ($ 1.2 billion) in England. The new center will employ some 400 people and will focus on the production of equipment used in fiber optic communication systems, Huawei said in a statement. The project is likely to enrage U.S. authorities and some British MPs who argue that Huawei technology can be used by Beijing for espionage and that the UK should rethink January’s decision to allow it a limited role in its 5G networks. . The company denies these allegations.
British authorities are exploring how best to mitigate the security risks posed by Huawei in light of new US sanctions announced in May, which are aimed at cutting off the company’s supply of the advanced microchips needed to manufacture its equipment. A decision is expected in the coming weeks. Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang said the technology developed at the new center is different from that affected by US restrictions and that it is “simply wrong” to suggest that the announcement was slated to influence the UK decision.
Huawei started working on the project in 2017, Zhang said, and in 2018 acquired a 200-hectare site near Cambridge, about 70 kilometers north of London. US authorities have said the development project is part of an effort by China to expand its influence in the West.