The founder and CEO of Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, has met with prime minister Bill English promising to make investments in New Zealand that will cover local procurement, R&D, and cloud computing infrastructure.
Huawei says it will work with local partners to build a cloud data centre and will open an Innovation Lab at Victoria University in Wellington in 2017. “The Lab will focus on the use of big data, and how to maximise the potential of the Internet of Things through future technology such as 5G,” Huawei said. “Huawei will also seek new R&D partnerships to establish an Innovation Lab in Christchurch.”
Huawei says it will also expand its ‘Seeds for the Future’ programme that enables students to travel to China to “learn about cutting-edge technology and participate in cultural exchanges.” It says the opportunity will be offered to 100 New Zealand undergraduate students over the next five years.
Huawei said also that it would open a regional office in Wellington, purchase more goods and services locally, and help local businesses integrate into its global supply chain network.
Zhengfei said: "New Zealand's open and fair trade environment, and its emphasis on developing new technology, facilitates our ongoing commitment. “New Zealand has rich tourism resources, and highly developed agricultural and trade sectors.
“Digital transformation empowered by advanced ICT technology can enable New Zealand to become better connected with the world, and transform its traditional strengths into driving forces of economic growth.”
On the occasion of his last visit to New Zealand in 2013. Zhengfei was reported saying Huawei would be focusing on New Zealand as one of its most important strategic markets. “New Zealand actively embraces the introduction of next generation telecoms infrastructure. This fosters the digital economy here and these investments will strengthen New Zealand’s global competitiveness and will help create future growth from across the global market,” he said.
Huawei began its operations in New Zealand in 2005. It says it is a supplier to all major operators including Spark, 2degrees and Vodafone NZ and has provided much of the technology behind the New Zealand Government's Ultra-Fast Broadband initiative.
New Australian CEO
Huawei announcement of its New Zealand plans follows its announcement on 20 March of the appointment of Mr Meng Xiaojie as CEO of Huawei Australia. He replaces Mr Zhao Xichu who has held the position since February 2014. Meng was from 2011 global sales director for Huawei’s Vodafone account.