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Huawei Plans $400m Investment in NZ

2017-03-28 09:02:21


Chen Lifang, Huawei global president of public affairs (left), Ren Zhengfei, and Government ministers Paul Goldsmith, Simon Bridges and Mark Mitchell
Telecommunications giant Huawei plans to invest at least $400m in New Zealand over the next five years.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Bill English earlier this month, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei outlined plans to spend on local procurement, plough money into university research, and build cloud computing infrastructure. The company will also open a new regional office in Wellington.
"The bulk of the money has been earmarked to bring New Zealand companies into our global supply chain," says Andrew Bowater, Huawei New Zealand director of public affairs.
He says Huawei has set aside $250m for local procurement, although there could be more money if the right opportunities appear.
"For Huawei, procurement means building more connections with New Zealand companies. We also want the connections to go deeper. Getting to that point is going to take time.
"We've asked NZTE to help us find suitable potential partners. We're looking for everything from phone apps to chip sets. It's a huge opportunity for local businesses. We have a similar programme in Australia, more than 200 suppliers doing business with us over there," he says.
For local developers and manufacturers, partnering with Huawei means getting an important entry point into the Chinese market. Bowater says an earlier deal with Rakon was worth more than US$50m to the company, with the New Zealand-developed technology being used in mobile phone handsets sold around the world.
Huawei has been in New Zealand for more than 10 years. In the early days it sold network equipment to telecommunications companies. Then it made low-cost cellular phone handsets that mobile carriers could sell under their own brand. That business evolved into Huawei-branded Android handsets.
Today Huawei is New Zealand's and the world's third-biggest handset maker. More recently it has begun selling enterprise information technology systems and, in the last year, portable computers.
Bowater says the long relationship with New Zealand is important to the company. "Ren (Zhengfei) takes a personal interest in New Zealand. When he met with Bill English he talked about how impressed he has been with our fair and open approach to international trade. New Zealand has been good to Huawei. In part, the investment is a recognition of that."
Partnerships are central to Huawei's way of doing business. Bowater says: "We can turn up anywhere in the world and sell our products, but we like to offer more. The cloud computing project will be the same. We're looking to work with a local cloud partner in New Zealand that will most likely be an existing player".
Huawei sees cloud computing as a way to move from being a telecommunications equipment company to a broader supplier of information technology products and services. It plans to repeat its telecommunications success and challenge IT brands like HP Enterprise, Cisco and IBM.


  The New Zealand Herald  
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