Huawei case study

The global China-headquartered ICT company expanded to London with help from London & Partners.

Client profile

Huawei, a global China-headquartered ICT company, wanted to expand its UK presence. With guidance from London & Partners — and following London 2012 Games-time networking with senior politicians and business leaders — the company decided to invest £1.3 billion in its UK operations. Huawei’s global net profits rose 32% from 2011 to 2012, reaching $2.5 billion..

The UK is an innovation hub. The country is playing a key role in the global digital economy. We are pleased to see that the UK is also an open market, which welcomes overseas investment.

Daniella Goldman, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Huawei

About Huawei

Founded in 1987 in China, Huawei is a leading information and communications technology (ICT) company with global sales of more than $20 billion. It employs 150,000 people in more than 140 countries. Huawei set up in London in 2001 and today has offices in Paddington, the City and Westminster. Huawei’s UK headquarters are in Reading.

Business aim

Huawei wanted to expand its UK operations. Who could help the company network with senior government and industry leaders and fully exploit partnership opportunities generated by London’s 2012 Games? 

London & Partners services

  • High-level networking: introductions to the Mayor of London and the UK Prime Minister
  • Securing speaking opportunities: at the 2012 Global Investment Conference, a high-profile networking event held on the eve of London’s Games
  • Office location: finding premises
  • Transport and infrastructure advice: guidance on transport links between Huawei’s London offices and its UK HQ in Reading, just outside London

Business success in London

During a series of high-profile meetings during London’s Olympic year — featuring the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London, international industry leaders and members of the British royal family — Huawei unveiled a plan to invest £1.3 billion in the UK. The company is on track to increase its UK workforce from 890 in 2013 to 1,500 in 2017-18. 

In their own words

What is Huawei?
“Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology solutions provider. We supply 45 out of the world’s 50 top telecommunications companies and the majority of the UK telecoms market. Our services span broadband, mobile and fixed networks, cloud computing and data centres, and we also manufacture consumer devices such as mobile phones.

Why is Huawei focusing on UK expansion?
“We have seen a step-change in the business here. There is considerable interest from our China board: they are now very focused on the UK market. More board members are travelling over from China to offer their expertise to the UK business. There has been a huge increase in the interest of very senior Chinese businessmen in the UK business, which is very positive.”

The UK is Europe's most liberalised and dynamic telecoms market with the most advanced infrastructure in Europe. Were these factors for you?
“Yes. The UK is an innovation hub. The country is playing a key role in the global digital economy. We are pleased to see that the UK is also an open market, which welcomes overseas investment.”  

You are investing £1.3 billion in the UK. Tell us more.
“On September 11 2012, our President and Founder Zhengfei Ren had a meeting with the Prime Minister in London. At that meeting Mr Ren pledged a £1.3 billion investment here in the UK. The investment represents a five-year development and implementation plan for Huawei’s UK business, building on our existing operations in the UK.”

Tell us about your sizeable operations across the UK and Europe.
“We have investments in every western European country and have been operating in the UK for 12 years. The company currently employs 890 staff in the UK. Staffing is projected to increase to around 1,500 in the next four to five years, nearly doubling our UK workforce. This will include highly skilled engineers and sales staff.”

Huawei attended a series of high-profile business events and meetings around the London 2012 Olympic Games. How did you benefit?
“There was a programme of conferences before and during the Olympics. Huawei viewed these conferences and networking opportunities with the Mayor of London, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and members of the Royal family very positively. These activities demonstrated that the British government welcomes inward investment.”

London & Partners, working with UK Trade & Investment, secured Huawei a speaking slot at the 2012 Global Investment Conference. How did that go?
“The networking event was organised by UKTI and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). We were very pleased that our Chair Madam Sun Yafang was given a speaking slot. The aim of the event was to encourage investors to collaborate longer term.”

What effect has the encouragement of London & Partners, together with a host of other official bodies, had on your expansion plans?
“The commitment and enthusiasm we’ve seen from these government departments has worked very well to secure our inward investment. Our senior officials appreciated the time and effort that London & Partners, UKTI, the Department for Business, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Prime Minister afforded to them. The support has all added up to our investment in the UK.”

Daniella Goldman, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Huawei

Published: July 2013