Huawei Boosts Investment In European Enterprise Tech

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Huawei is setting its sights firmly on expansion in Western Europe, after failing to make headway in the US

Chinese networking and telecoms company Huawei has announced a programme of investment to kick-start its entry into the enterprise market in Western Europe.

Huawei first launched its Western European enterprise division in 2010, and has since built up a workforce of around 400 employees, spanning the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and ‘Benelux’.  The division is headquartered in Amsterdam.

Although the company was unable to name an exact figure, it said the new investment would enable it to double its headcount in the region year-on-year, as well as to build a new sales channel structure in Europe.

“The European region is a key market for Huawei Enterprise,” said Mario Fan, President for Huawei Enterprise Business for Western Europe. “Since we first established our European presence a year ago, we have made tremendous progress. We will build on this strong start by placing an emphasis on developing partnerships with customers, integrators and resellers at all levels.”

Broad enterprise offering

One part of Huawei’s enterprise offering consists of containerised data centres that can be erected in 8 to 12 weeks, built using Huawei’s own servers and storage and based on its secure IP network. The equipment is interoperable with solutions from other vendors, and will be sold via Huawei’s various channel partners.

The company also plans to create private cloud and networking solutions for use in a number of vertical sectors, ranging from government and finance through to broadcast, energy distribution and transportation applications. Its data centre infrastructure integrates with hypervisors from VMware and other leading virtualisation vendors.

“We see two trends for data centre development in the market,” Fan (pictured) told eWEEK Europe. “Large corporates and companies like to have their private data centres built and then outsourced to a managed service partner – this is trend one. Trend two is for those small and medium enterprises, who do not want to spend a lot of money on building facilities, and so rent the capacity of those data centres.”

“At Huawei we are open to support both business models. So we will be partnering with the service providers, to provide the outsourcing services to those large corporates. Also we would like to partner with some smaller data centre hosting operators, to help them build their facilities,” he said.

One sector that Huawei will be focusing on in the UK is transport infrastructure. The company hopes to use its GSM-R solution, based on the mature GSM platform, to provide wireless coverage on the London Underground, as well as on main line railways and even aeroplanes.

Huawei is now commencing a regional tour of 18 cities in its Enterprise Business Roadshow, starting in Amsterdam and ending in Utrecht on 7 December. Customers and prospective partners can visit the company’s showtruck for demonstrations of its data centre and networking technologies, as well as its corporate communications solutions.

Europe a key strategic region

Huawei is making a concerted effort to establish a presence in Europe, after struggling to enter the US market due to the company’s alleged connection with the Chinese army. Earlier this year the company was forced to pull out of a controversial deal to acquire assets and technology from 3Leaf Systems, following a review by the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States. It was reportedly suggested by “some relevant parties in the US” that the deal could damage national security.

In Europe, however, Huawei has been making some headway. Last year the company established a UK-based security centre in Banbury, overseen by the government intelligence agency GCHQ, to allow its products and software to be examined and tested. At the time Huawei emphasised its commitment to transparency, openness and to “building mutual trust in the area of cyber security”. The centre will work with selected telecoms vendors operating within the UK market, to protect increasingly integrated networks against attack.

Huawei also recently landed a major contract with the UK’s largest mobile phone operator, Everything Everywhere to ‘enhance’ its 2G network. Huawei will essentially upgrade Everything Everywhere’s base stations, which will help optimise its GSM network.

Meanwhile, on the consumer side of things, Huawei is preparing to bring out its first own-brand mobile phone, the Android-based Blaze. The company is targeting 4 to 5 percent market share in the UK within 12 months. Huawei UK executive vice president Mark Mitchinson said last month that the UK will be the focus of Huawei’s biggest push within Western Europe.

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