Economy

Cambridge local council approves £1bn Huawei facility despite security row

Cambridge local council approves £1bn Huawei facility despite security row”

Huawei Technologies Co has received approval to break ground on a 1 billion pound ($1.2 billion) research and development site near Cambridge in the east of England, even as the company's future in the country hangs in the balance. The site is meant to eventually serve as Huawei's global headquarters for its optoelectronics business, where it will research, develop, and produce semiconductor technology focused on optoelectronics used in fiber optic broadband networks. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

British officials are now reviewing how best to securely deploy Huawei equipment in the country's 5G networks, after granting the Chinese firm a limited role in January.

In a strong rebuke, an official said the United States was "deeply concerned" about the "serious risk" China's activities, such as its research, posed to both United Kingdom and American national security.

More news: US Senate passes Hong Kong Autonomy Act

The three-hour council video call occasionally became heated, with the sole committee member who voted against the plans accusing Huawei of attempting to push through its proposals through a "Trojan Horse" approach by rushing through its plans. "The essential thing in my view is to be in a position where the West has built a strong enough set of alliances that we are able to handle China however and whatever direction China develops in", he said. The planning permission comes as the National Cyber Security Centre carries out a fresh review of whether the security concerns around Huawei can be mitigated.

"Whatever attitudes are towards China, to get into a situation of hostility is not really sensible", Blair said, adding that the Chinese Communist Party had tightened its grip domestically while becoming more assertive globally. Huawei has denied such claims. Ideas reportedly also include prodding large USA tech companies like Cisco to buy Ericsson or Nokia, or the government providing tax breaks to the Swedish and Finnish vendors - who are Huawei's two main competitors in the telecom space. The site was acquired in 2018 and will support 400 jobs across 50,000 square meters of facilities, according to a statement from the company.



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