Huawei to invest $1.9 billion in UK operations

China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s second-biggest telecommunications equipment maker, is set to announce a 1.2 billion pound ($1.9 billion) investment in Britain in a bid to accelerate growth of its business there, Sky News reported.

Huawei, whose expansion plans have been met with some suspicion in the United States and Australia over concerns about cyber security, aims to create at least 700 jobs over the next five years while directly investing 600 million pounds, it said.

A further 600 million pounds in investment would be generated through procurement activity.

Huawei was not immediately available to comment. The UK government declined to comment.

The company, founded by CEO Ren Zhengfei in 1987 after he was made redundant by China’s military, has diversified into consumer devices and enterprise networking equipment as growth in its core telecoms gear market has stalled.

Ren’s background with the Chinese military has been cited as hindering the company’s progress overseas, although he has denied close links to the military, pointing out he was made redundant from the People’s Liberation Army three decades ago.

The UK investment announcement would coincide with a rare trip to Britain by Ren, Sky News reported.

Huawei has been actively hiring foreign executives, including former government officials and industry figures, in various parts of the company, including senior positions and research and development, to achieve its global ambitions.

($1 = 0.6246 British pounds)

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Huawei to invest $1.9 billion in UK operations