Huawei Technologies has committed to spend £3 billion ($4.18 billion) in procurement in the UK over the next five years, in a move to strengthen its ties with the UK and help British companies increase their exports to China.
Huawei chairwoman Sun Yafang made the pledge last week in Beijing in a meeting with the British Prime Minster Theresa May during a mission to China.
"Huawei's £3 billion announcement is yet another significant vote of confidence in our world-leading tech industry, and I'm delighted to welcome their increased commitment to the UK," Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said.
"With 90% of global growth forecast to come from outside the EU, my international economic department is working to ensure Britain continues to benefit from the vast opportunities available as we leave the EU."
Sun said that the UK was one of the first markets Huawei entered internationally, opening an office there back in 2001.
"We have now been working with our major customers in the UK for more than 12 years, helping to build a better connected UK," she said.
"Over the coming years, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our customers and partners to help keep the UK at the very forefront of the digital age."
The new investment plan builds on a 2012 pledge to invest and procure £1.3 billion in Britain between 2013 and 2017. This target has been significantly exceeded, according to the company, which said it invested and procured £2 billion during that period.
Huawei currently employs more than 1,500 people in the UK. The company has established 12-year partnerships with BT Group and Vodafone Group, alongside whom it operates two joint innovation centers in the UK, in Ipswich (with BT), and Newbury (with Vodafone).
Huawei said it will continue to work with its operator partners to explore future technologies, including 5G. The company also plans to expand its investment in research and development as well as its ongoing cooperation with UK universities, with an extensive range of topics to research and more university partnerships.
“Thanks to the drive and innovation of UK business, backed by this government, trade between the UK and China is already at record levels. This visit is an opportunity to further showcase the best of British and boost jobs and prosperity throughout the UK,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said.
Huawei’s decision to strengthen its ties with the UK is seen as a move to seek alternatives to the US, where it has been effectively blocked by Washington, with AT&T last month dropping the agreement to carry the vendor's flagship Mate 10 Pro into the US market due to political pressure.