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Huawei to build Helsinki R&D centre in smartphone push

Chinese company Huawei has announced plans to open a research and development (R&D) centre in Finland, as part of its European expansion strategy.

The telecommunications equipment vendor will invest €70 million (£56 million) in the Helsinki facility, spread out over a period of five years. During the same time period, Huawei also intends to hire at least 100 new employees.

"The open and innovative environment in Finland is an ideal place for Huawei to strengthen our global R&D capabilities for devices, creating opportunities for both Huawei and the Finnish telecommunications industry," said Kenneth Fredriksen, vice president of Huawei's operations in central, eastern and Nordic Europe.

The new R&D centre is set to become Huawei's eleventh such complex in Europe and the second to focus solely on consumer electronics, rather than network infrastructure. It will be dedicated to the development of Huawei's smartphone technologies.

The company has of late placed a growing emphasis on the promotion of its smartphone and tablet businesses, and is set to launch its first Windows Phone device in the near future.

According to Q3 figures released last month by Gartner, Huawei commands 2.4 per cent of the global smartphone market. This adds up to an annual growth of 37 per cent, according to Fredriksen, making it the company's fastest- developing area of business.

Over the next three to five years, it aims to double its European research staff from 7,000 to 14,000 employees.

In September, Huawei revealed it will invest £1.25 billion and create 700 jobs in the UK.

The Chinese company is still embroiled in a war of words with the US, after being accused of using its equipment for surveillance purposes.