Huawei says Bangalore manufacturing base is on track
Huawei Technologies said its first US$60 million manufacturing base in Bangalore was going ahead, denying the expansion plan could be derailed due to Indian government security concerns.
Huawei Telecommunications India Corp spokesman Gong Wenhe rejected media reports that the company's plan to build the plant had worried Indian authorities because of purported links with the Chinese military and business ties with Pakistan. He said there had been misunderstandings by the media.
What is being considered by the Indian government is a trading licence, not the Bangalore manufacturing centre, he said.
A trading licence would allow foreign investors such as Huawei to directly supply its telecommunications equipment products to local operators.
'We made our application for the trading licence back in March. Certainly each country has its own evaluation process [for vetting applications], but we are confident of the outcome by the government,' said Mr Gong.
The Indian government has not said when its evaluation would be completed.
Fu Jun, Huawei director of corporate communications at its Shenzhen headquarters, also said speculation on the Indian government's concern of spying by Huawei was groundless.
'We are a commercial enterprise, we mean business. We have been serving Indian operators for many years,' he said.
It is not the first time that Huawei's Indian operation has been accused of helping terrorists or autocratic governments in building their telecommunications networks.
In 2001, its Indian software centre was said to be helping the Taleban regime in Afghanistan upgrade their communications network. That year, US media also reported Huawei was helping Iraq install fibre-optic cable systems at military sites. Both allegations were rejected by the company.
Founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer of the People's Liberation Army, Huawei is said to have strong links with the military.
With a trading licence, Huawei could directly supply locally made telecommunications equipment to Indian operators. Mr Gong said the company would then have quicker access to customers and be more cost-effective.
With two registered companies in India - a software development centre called Huawei Technology India and telecoms solutions vendor Huawei Telecommunications India Corp - Mr Gong said Huawei had invested US$100 million in India over the past six years. 'That is because we are confident that the Indian telecoms market is booming,' he said.
He said apart from the US$60 million Bangalore plant, it also planned to spend US$40 million to set up a software research campus in Bangalore and hire another 1,000 staff to add to the 1,000 now.
With US$2.47 billion of its total sales of US$4.1 billion in the first six months coming from overseas, Huawei also provides equipment to Pakistan Telecommunication.