As the turbulent year of 2020 drew to a close, it was clear that the past few months have been quite extraordinary for all of us. Even as we begin to see the end of the tunnel with mass vaccinations soon to be underway all over the world, the pandemic continues to have a huge impact on our daily lives.
At Huawei, we ended the year with an announcement that is of particular importance to me: Huawei’s first manufacturing plant outside of China will be located in Brumath, right next to Strasbourg and Baden-Baden. Here, in the Franco-German border region in the very heart of Europe, Huawei is creating hundreds of quality jobs. France is the country in which I was born. It is satisfying to work for a company that meets its local obligations – obligations like, for example, paying taxes in the country in which it operates. As a staunch European, Huawei’s decision to invest strategically in France – and symbolically in a location just a few kilometers from the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg – is the right thing to do.
On the occasion of the anniversaries of the Schuman Declaration, we regularly think back to the heritage of the founding fathers of the European project. But this noble heritage can only be preserved if we continue to fulfill these ideals of life. These shouldn’t be just words, delivered coldly, to an audience that doesn’t listen to them. On the contrary, they should be important every day, in a tangible and economically viable way.
It is no coincidence that Huawei chose a location in the heart of Europe for its first manufacturing plant outside of China. As an ambitious ICT company, Huawei is at the forefront of communication technologies. To continue to set trends and standards, Huawei invests 20 billion euros in internal research and development each year. The EU now ranks Huawei among the top three global innovators, along with our technology peers Google and Microsoft.
Europe is essential for Huawei in our quest to continue to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution and all the fascinating benefits that this transformation offers us to humans here in Europe and around the world.
Why then, you ask, is Europe so important to Huawei? Well, if there is one bloc that sets the right ICT standards for the whole world, we think it is the European Union. The GDPR has revolutionized data protection far beyond the borders of the EU. It is quickly becoming the world standard in this field. Likewise, the European Union is now taking decisive action to regulate digital markets.
Huawei is a truly global ICT company. Our headquarters may be in Shenzhen, a young, modern and progressive high-tech metropolis with a subtropical climate, but our horizons are so much wider than China. At Huawei, we know China could be our biggest market in terms of volume. However, Europe is our most important market when it comes to global standards.
Therefore, in the context of digital markets law, Huawei supports the European Commission’s approach to principled leadership to ensure contestability and fair competition in digital markets. This is a bold step to protect citizens from predatory business models that seek to lock up citizens and small businesses, copy or crush competitors, while also damaging European democracy and our social fabric.
Huawei shares the same goal: to serve European citizens. We want to do this by delivering important digital technologies like 5G, as well as new technologies like 6G and the Internet of Things with industry leading standards of trust, security and privacy.
As we gradually move away from the pandemic, Europe will in the near future face the difficult challenge of overcoming the economic effects of the current downturn. More than ever, maintaining the European way of life means reforming and adapting to new technologies and digitization. Europe must remain the best place on earth. As a supplier of cutting-edge technologies and as a responsible company upholding the highest cybersecurity standards, Huawei is the natural partner of leading and emerging companies in Europe. For today and for tomorrow.
By Sophie Batas, Cyber Security Director, Huawei Europe