Huawei, a Chinese multinational technology company, has recently announced its plan to build a manufacturing plant in France. The move is reportedly planned despite uncertainty of the French government’s decision regarding the usage of the equipment from the factory in the new 5G network. The company is yet to decide the exact location to install the new facility.
Cybersecurity agencies in France have been screening the 5G equipment from various companies, including Huawei, for integration and deployment in the new network. Huawei is expected to invest €200 million ($223 million) in the 1st phase of setting up the mobile base station facility.
The United States has recently charged Huawei of posing security risks by marketing the equipment to Beijing for substantial use in espionage activities. Huawei has long rebuffed the United States claims and regards this new factory as the means to ease the concerns stoked by these security fears. In the wake of the crucial claims by the U.S. against China over the 5G next-generation mobile technology, the telecoms giant decided on installing a manufacturing plant in Europe, which is starting to become a major battleground in this regard.
French authorities have already allowed Huawei and its European rivals, Nokia and Ericsson to do business on French ground. However, sources familiar with the matter have expressed their fears that the company’s future in France looks uncertain, despite facing no formal ban.
According to Bruno Le Maire, Finance Minister of France, the setting up of the new Huawei plant will not influence the government’s opinion on the 3 main 5G equipment makers. Mr. Le Maire added that the while the station plant is anticipated to create 500 new jobs, he rejects the claims of succumbing to blackmail by Huawei to gain goodwill from the government regarding the 5G project. He further added that the government won’t discriminate any vendor, be it Chinese or American, as the company’s main goal is to maintain its strategic interests and security.