Blighty wants to ‘strengthen links’ with Huawei via the begging bowl

Whittingdale plays Twist to Ken Hu’s Bumble

John Whittingdale, the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has indicated Blighty would like more cash from Chinese kit maker Huawei after its current £1.3bn investment pot runs dry in 2017.

Speaking at Huawei's annual summer bash at Whitehall's Banqueting Hall, he suggested the UK would be keen to have its coffers topped up after 2017.

Citing a report published this week by analyst firm Oxford Economics, he said Huawei is on track to surpass its spending commitment, having so far splashed nearly £1bn on procurement and investment since 2013.

"We look forward to further talks in how we can strengthen our collaboration and business links," Whittingdale said. "We hope the relationship between our countries will become stronger."

"I want to pay tribute to Huawei for its role in one of the most exciting projects: high speed broadband," he continued, adding that "Huawei is playing a vital role [in the UK]."

Ken Hu, rotating chief executive of Huawei, said: "We have a special relationship with the UK and a strong and successful friendship."

Last year the kit maker invested £5m into the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre.

Hu added that the UK is in a position to be a 5G "pioneer" as the centre will provide a "powerful testbed" for the technology.

According to the report by Oxford Economics, the firm's spending has so far created 7,400 jobs in the UK. It said Huawei is one of China's largest inward investors in the UK.

In March Huawei's networking kit was given a clean bill of health by Blighty's spooks, after being dogged for years by allegations of secret backdoors.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the company had fulfilled its obligations to provide assurance that any risks to UK national security have been sufficiently mitigated. ®

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