TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
A hot potato: Huawei has been ousted from some of the world's largest smartphone markets due to US sanctions, but the company is far from dead. Significant investments in Europe have been planned for years, and Huawei has now confirmed that a major overseas expansion will begin next year.
Huawei will start building its first overseas manufacturing plant in France in 2024, an anonymous source familiar with the matter recently said. Reuters reports that the new building will be used to make mobile phone and network equipment, and is expected to open for business in 2025, according to an additional source within the French government.
Plans for the new factory were outlined in 2020, with an initial investment of €200 million ($215 million), before the COVID-19 pandemic halted everything. The project can now proceed as expected, the unnamed source said, and the new plant will be built in the city of Brumath, near Strasbourg and the official seat of the European Parliament.
No further details or precise timeline are provided, but the Chinese Communist Party's official digital newspaper, China Daily, provides some additional details about the deal. Zhang Minggang, deputy general manager of Huawei France, confirmed the new plant, stating that it will create 500 local jobs. The Brumath site will be used to produce a billion euros' worth of mobile network technology solutions, Huawei said, which will then be sold to European consumers.
Beijing's official propaganda machine remarked how Huawei has been facing "increasing pressure" from the US and "some" of its allies in Europe, because of so-called national security concerns. The new French factory is seemingly showing the company's openness and commitment to serving the European market despite Washington sanctions, China Daily states.
Huawei has been present in France since 2003, and the Brumath plant is part of a broader plan to increase investments in the European nation. In 2020, the Paris government tried to oust the company by telling telecom operators to avoid buying Huawei 5G equipment. After Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire met with the company in Beijing, the French government ultimately decided to extend 5G licenses in some cities.
According to China Daily's reporting, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei sees Europe as a "second home" for its company. The new manufacturing plant will be "highly automatic" and intelligent, and it will also have a demo center to showcase some of its production equipment. Further investments already planned by Huawei in France include a research center in Paris to support digital transformation in the country.