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Huawei to add 5,500 workers, double R&D team in Europe

Following the company's decision to shift its focus to Europe, the Chinese networking giant says it plans to add 5,500 employees in the region over five years and double its R&D team to 1,700 in three years.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Huawei Technologies is looking to expand its workforce in Europe by 5,500 over the next five years as well as double its research and development (R&D) team to 1,700 in three years. 

The Chinese networking giant wants to beef up its headcount in the region as it competes for business against competitors such as Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. It also needs the added workforce to meet growing demand in Europe where sales in 2013 exceeded US$3.4 billion, said Huawei CMO William Xu in an interview with Bloomberg. The Shenzhen-headquartered company currently has some 7,700 employees in the European region, accounting for about 5 percent of its global headcount which clocked 150,000 last year. 

Xu declined to reveal sales numbers for each market in Europe where its clients include Italian telco Wind Telecomunicazioni, which last year said it would invest 1 billion euros (US$1.35 billion) over five years to acquire equipment and infrastructure services from Huawei and local vendor Sirti. The telco is building a high-speed mobile network, according to Bloomberg.  

The Chinese networking vendor operates a microwave R&D facility in Milan where it employes over 100 engineers, and has 800 workers across Italy. Xu said he looked forward to a visit to China by Italian prime minister later this week.

Huawei in March said it had achieved its business targets for 2013 and expected to report a 8.6 percent climb in revenue to 239.03 billion yuan (US$38.19 billion), from 220.2 billion yuan in 2012. Some 65 percent of Huawei's overall 2013 revenue came from outside of of China, while its domestic market generated 84 billion yuan (US$13.63 billion) in revenue, up 14.2 percent over 2012. 

Huawei this year expects increasing penetration of ultra-broadband and mobile broadband, particularly LTE, to offer significant opportunities. 

It last year said it was shifting its focus to Europe following increasing tensed relationships with the U.S. over claims the Chinese vendor was helping its government spy on U.S. companies. Furious over the allegations, in which U.S. companies were urged to boycott its products, Huawei described the U.S. market as a "commercial disappointment" and declared it was no longer interested in the market. 

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