Huawei quietly launched a 5G research lab on Thursday in South Korea, a key East Asian ally of the United States, poking a hole in the US’ global campaign to curb the rise of the Chinese telecoms giant.
The Shenzhen-based telecoms equipment vendor said it planned to invest about USD 5 million in the lab in Seoul, but did not disclose its location or invite media to its launch because the company wanted to “avoid any damage to its Korean partners in case they are shown in media,” according to an unnamed source quoted by Reuters.
The facility in Seoul is Huawei’s first open 5G development center in the world, allowing other companies to test their platforms on-site.
After the United Kingdom reportedly decided to let Huawei participate in non-core portions of its 5G network, the lab’s launch is another blow to the US effort to persuade its allies to pick sides in the Tech Cold War between the US and China.
Earlier this month, the US Commerce Department blacklisted Huawei, effectively banning US suppliers from doing business with the Chinese company without governmental approval.
But South Korea is not the only country in the region feeling reluctant about falling in line with the US and disengaging with Huawei. Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday at the Future of Asia 2019 conference that his country should embrace the Chinese tech giant, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
“Huawei’s research is far bigger than Malaysia’s capability. We try to make use of their technology as much as possible,” he said.