Huawei has announced a major extension of its European operations as it plans to expand further into the region.
The company said it had now established 18 Joint Innovation Centres (JICs) with top European carriers across the continent as it looks to boost its brand recognition in Western markets.
The expansion will continue as Huawei looks to hire 5,500 further employees in Europe, which currently makes up around 5% of its total global workforce, over the next five years, almost doubling its current workforce to establish it as, "a real European company".
The bulk of these will be in R&D, which will more than double to total over 1,700 employees by 2019, based at its centres spread around Europe.
Harking back to the legendary travels of Italian explorer Marco Polo along the "Silk Road" to the Orient, Huawei's Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, William Xu, said that the series of JICs has helped support the "Silicon Road", whereby ICT innovation flows between East and West.
"Europe enjoys a long tradition of innovation and has high-calibre talents and open business opportunities," Xu said, describing the continent as, "an innovation powerhouse".
"As a key player in Europe's innovation ecosystem, Huawei has been jointly innovating and openly collaborating with carriers, partners, and academic institutions to achieve win-win outcomes. These initiatives have improved the competitiveness of the ICT industry in Europe and support EU Commission's objective of building a single digital market and to create a better connected Europe."
Huawei set up its first JIC with Vodafone in 2006, and now has 28 such centres around the world. The centres cover a wide range of technological areas, including wireless access, network communications technologies and business support systems.
The news came as Huawei announced it would also be setting up a new research and development centre in Bristol by the end of the year as part of a £125m investment in the UK.
The facility, the company's second following the establishment of an optoelectronics centre in Ipswich, will employ 30 workers, who will be focusing on ICT chips, software, and analog chips, which Huawei chief executive Guo Ping said will enable the company to continue pioneering "new, ground-breaking technologies".
Last month, UK secretary of state for business, innovation and skills Vince Cable hailed Huawei's "long-term commitment to the UK" as the company signed a memorandum of understanding with BT.
The deal, announced at the UK-China Leadership Forum, could see BT supply data centre services to the Chinese giant as part of Huawei's plans to invest and procure £1.3bn in the UK by 2017.
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