Huawei plans to shift its research centre from the United States to Canada, Ren Zhengfei, the founder of the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, said in an interview with the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper.
Huawei’s “centre for research and development will be moved out of the United States. And that will be relocated to Canada,” Ren told the Globe and Mail, adding that the company will also manufacture some mobile network equipment outside of China. Ren said the restrictions would prevent Huawei from interacting with American employees.
Huawei is one of the biggest global makers of smartphones and network gear for phone companies. The company operates a research and development centre in Silicon Valley in California but confirmed in June it was cutting jobs following the U.S. sanctions.
Ren’s remarks came as Reuters reported on Friday that the U.S. is weighing expanding its power to stop more foreign shipments of products with U.S. technology to Huawei. The U.S. Commerce Department in May placed Huawei on a trade blacklist, citing national security concerns.
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The Huawei founder wants to build new factory capacity in Europe to make fifth-generation (5G) networking equipment there, hoping to assuage fears stemming from U.S. allegations that its product could be used by China for spying, the Globe and Mail reported.
Huawei was not immediately available to comment on Ren’s interview when contacted by Reuters. The firm has previously denied it is a risk to U.S. national security.
The company spent $510 million on the operations of its U.S. research arm last year, according to the Globe and Mail report, which added that it has now trimmed the arm’s workforce by 600 to about 250.
Meanwhile, Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is Ren’s daughter and was arrested in Canada on a U.S. warrant late last year, is fighting extradition to the U.S. on charges of violating sanctions against Iran. She is currently out on bail.
Huawei has denied the charges and China has urged Canada to release her.
Commenting on her case, Ren said that it is an example of “obvious political interference from the U.S.”
With files from The Canadian Press