Huawei Starts Construction Of First Overseas Plant In France

Huawei's Mate 30 launch in September. Image credit: Huawei

Huawei says construction of 200m euro 5G network equpment factory plant in Alsace, France, shows commitment to European market

Shenzhen, China-based Huawei said it has begun construction of a delayed 200 million euro (£172m) plant in the Alsace region of France, its first overseas factory, in a bid to expand its presence in Europe even as many European governments restrict use of the firm’s equipment.

Huawei France deputy manager Minggang Zhang said in an interview with France Inter News Radio on Monday that the “ultramodern” plant in Brumath, Bas-Rhin, was intended to supply customers across Europe.

“The factory construction is underway – the ambition is indeed to produce 1 billion (euros  of) merchandise per year, with 500 jobs at stake in the long term,” Zhang said.

The company has said the factory, first announced in 2020, would create 300 direct jobs and had an initial investment from the firm of 200m euros.

Ren Zhengfei, Founder and CEO, Huawei Technologies
Ren Zhengfei, Founder and CEO, Huawei Technologies. Huawei

5G equipment

Huawei has said the plant is intended to begin manufacturing 5G equipment in 2025, at a time when many European governments are restricting the use of telecoms equipment from China’s Huawei and ZTE on national security grounds.

In 2020 the French government told telecoms providers they would not be able to renew licences for Huawei 5G equipment once they expire, effectively banning the equipment.

But after meeting with French economy minister Bruno Le Maire in Beijing in July China’s vice-premier He Lifeng said France would extend Huawei 5G licences in some cities.

China is France’s third-biggest trade partner after the EU and the US.

Security collaboration

Huawei’s Zhang said the company had an ongoing collaboration with the Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information (ANSSI) cyber-security agency to establish transparency and trust.

He said the company is continuing to deploy 5G base stations with French mobile network operators SFR and Bouygues.