As the turbulent year of 2020 comes to an end, it is clear that the past months have been quite extraordinary for all of us; even though we are starting to see the end of the tunnel with mass vaccinations soon to be underway all over the world, the pandemic continues to heavily impact our daily lives.
At Huawei, we end this challenging year with an announcement that has particular significance for me: Huawei’s first manufacturing plant outside China will be located in Brumath, just 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 tax in the country in which it is operating. As a convinced European, Huawei’s decision to strategically invest in France — and symbolically in a location just kilometres away from the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg — is the right thing to do.
On anniversaries of the Schuman Declaration, we regularly think back to the legacy of the founding fathers of the European project. But this noble legacy can only be preserved if we continue to fill these ideals with life. These should not just be words, delivered coldly, to an unlistening public. Rather, they should be important each day, in tangible, economically viable ways.
It is not a coincidence that Huawei has chosen a location in the heart of Europe for its first manufacturing plant outside China. As an ambitious ICT company, Huawei operates at the forefront of communication technologies. To continue setting trends and standards, Huawei invests €20 billion in research and development in-house each year. The EU now ranks Huawei among the top three global innovators, together with our technology peers Google and Microsoft.
Europe is key for Huawei in our quest to continue shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution and all the fascinating benefits that this transformation offers us humans here in Europe and all over the world.
Why then, you might ask, is Europe so important for Huawei? Well, if there is a bloc that is setting the right ICT standards for the whole world, we think it is the European Union. GDPR has revolutionised data protection well beyond the EU’s borders. It is fast becoming the global standard in this field. In a similar way, the European Union is now taking decisive steps to regulate digital markets.
Huawei is a truly global ICT company. Our headquarters might be in Shenzhen, a young, modern and progressive hi-tech metropolis with a subtropical climate, but our horizons are so much wider than just China. At Huawei we know that China might be our most important market in terms of sheer volume. However, Europe is our most important market when it comes to global standards.
That is why in the context of the Digital Markets Act, Huawei supports the European Commission’s approach of 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 in citizens and small businesses, copy or crush competitors, while also harming European democracy and our social fabric in the process.
Huawei shares the same objective — to serve European citizens. We want to do this by providing important digital technologies like 5G, as well as new technologies such as 6G and the internet of things with industry-leading trust, security and privacy standards.
As we gradually leave the pandemic behind, Europe in the near future will be facing the tough challenge of overcoming the economic effects of the current slowdown. More than ever, keeping the European way of life will mean reforming and adapting to new technologies and to digitalisation. Europe should remain the best place on earth. As the provider of cutting-edge technology and as a responsible company observing the highest cybersecurity standards, Huawei is the natural partner for Europe’s leading and emerging companies. For today and for tomorrow.