Huawei to move R&D facility to Canada as US row continues

(Image credit: Future)

Huawei plans to move an R&D centre from the US to Canada as the company continues plans to reduce its dependency on US-made technology.

The Chinese mobile giant is currently on a US blacklist which prevents American firms from doing business with the company due to national security fears. Huawei denies any wrongdoing but the ruling has restricted access to many technologies.

In an interview with Canadian newspaper Globe & Mail, Huawei chairman Ren Zhengfei said the Silicon Valley-based facility would be moved north of the border and that Huawei would seek to move some production to Europe.

Huawei Canada

The theory is that if 5G equipment is manufactured outside China, claims that the gear could be used to facilitate state sponsored espionage would carry less weight.

Huawei has worked to move as much development and production in-house as possible, while it has moved away from US-made components – harming American companies in the process. There are also efforts to create an in-house operating system as an alternative to Android. However the absence of key Google services and applications could limit the appeal of Huawei devices in the West.

Huawei has previously stated that all of its 5G hardware is free of US-manufactured components, but a new teardown by UBS and Japanese lab Formalhaut Techno Solutions has discovered the same could be said of the Huawei Mate 30 smartphone.

Ren also addressed the ongoing issue of the arrest of his daughter and company CEO Meng Wanzhou.

Meng was arrested in Canada on December 1 2018 and is facing extradition to the US to answer charges of fraud. It is alleged that Wanzhou aided Huawei to avoid sanctions on doing business in Iran, which if proven, could have put multinational banking organisations at risk of breaking those sanctions too.

She remains in Canada on bail as she awaits an extradition hearing in January. Ren said the situation was the result of political interference from the US.

Meng has written an open letter on the first anniversary of her arrest, thanking Huawei employees for their support and the Canadian public for their courtesy.

“It was never my intention to be stuck here so long,” she wrote. “The past year has witnessed moments of fear, pain, disappointment, helplessness, torment, and struggle. I have also learned to face up to and accept my situation. I'm no longer afraid of the unknown … my hear has been warmed by your support and encouragement.

“Again and again, when a Huawei colleague posted about me on our internal messaging board Xinsheng Community, I would see pages and pages of follow-up posts. In these dark moments, our customers and suppliers have chosen to trust us, support us, and wait. This motivates us to work even harder. Every time I appear in court, a crowd waits outside. Your passion and support have always warmed my heart.”

Via Globe & Mail / Wall Street Journal

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.