Huawei to build new chip factory in the UK

But will Huawei’s charm offensive counter political pressures?

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Huawei to build new chip factory in the UK

Huawei, the apparent target of the Prague Proposals, is planning to build a chip factory outside of the British college town Cambridge, the Financial Times reports.

The factory, which reportedly will be operational by 2021, will have a team of 400 staff and focus on chip research. Its planned location will be a 15-minute drive from the headquarters of Arm Holdings, a semiconductor and software design company. Huawei’s latest smartphone chips use Arm’s architecture.

Henk Koopmans, the chief executive of Huawei Technologies R&D UK, told the Financial Times that his company bought the 550-acre plot last year for GBP 37.5 million (USD 49.2 million).

The news of UK chip plant came days after the country’s National Security Council decided to allow Huawei hardware to be used in non-core parts of UK’s 5G networks.

By setting up a chip factory in Cambridge, the Shenzhen-based telecoms giant aims to attract graduates from one of the country’s most prestigious universities. Huawei, together with UK’s largest network carrier BT, set up a five-year research project with the University of Cambridge in 2017.

Huawei also confirmed to the Global Times on Saturday that it plans to invest GBP 1 billion to 2 billion in the site over the next five years.

But the Chinese hardware maker’s charm-offensive has yet to pass the tests of political pressure. Earlier this year, Oxford University suspended future research and development collaborations with the company due to “public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei.”