Chinese networking giant Huawei has opened a research and development (R&D) facility in Southern France, which will focus on chipset design and embedded technology.
Located in the French technology hub Sophia Antipolis, the new site is currently supported by 20 engineers and will have another 10 engineers by year-end. Most of its engineers are former researchers of Texas Instruments, Huawei said in a statement Friday.
The Chinese vendor said the "fertile IT ecosystem" in Sophia Antipolis, and availability of skilled engineers in the area recognized for their expertise in electronic devices and software, led to the decision to set up the research facility. The company now has 17 R&D facilities across eight countries in Europe, including Belgium, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden.
Underscoring the importance of the region, Huawei noted that it has operated in France since 2003 and just last year unveiled plans to hire 170 researchers in the country by 2017. It also said it would invest 125 million pounds (US$203.3 million) to build a new R&D center in Bristol, England, where it already has an existing facility in Ipswich. The company plans to hire 300 employees at both plants by 2017 as part of its broader efforts to create 5,500 jobs in Europe and focus on growth in the region, following tensed relationships with the U.S. over claims Huawei was helping its government spy on U.S. firms.
It also opened an innovation center in Waldorf, Germany, last month to develop integrated product offerings and support performance and standards testing.
Huawei France CEO Song Kai said: "We are very proud of this R&D site, which represents perfectly what France can provide in terms of skills on the global IT market. This inauguration is a symbolic step for Huawei in France, a sign of its increasing collaboration with the French digital ecosystem.
"Huawei has great ambitions for the coming months and Sophia Antipolis is only the first step in its French R&D development strategy."
The research facility will include work on improving the quality of smartphone cameras, driving Huawei's knowledge in microelectronics and software, as well as enhancing Image Signal Processor technology. The company is aiming to develop a at the Sophia Antipolis facility that will be integrated into its terminals by 2015.