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The BT and Huawei deal that strengthens UK’s ‘knowledge economy’ status

BT could supply data centre services to Huawei as part of the Chinese firm’s £1.3bn commitment to the UK.

By Duncan Macrae

BT and Huawei have penned a memorandum of understanding covering the potential supply of data centre services by BT to the Chinese ICT giant.

The agreement was reached during the third UK-China Leadership Forum at Huawei’s Shenshen headquarters. Vince Cable, UK secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, and China’s ministry of industry and IT, were both on hand to witness the deal’s confirmation.

Cable was given a tour of Huawei’s Exhibition Hall and R&D facilities by Huawei chairwoman Sun Yafang, who said the company’s pledge to invest and procure £1.3bn in the UK by 2017 was on track. A substantial portion of that money will be ploughed into the expansion of R&D facilities in the country.

Cable said: "Huawei’s long-term commitment to the UK is a vote of confidence in our status as a knowledge economy. The location of key Huawei R&D facilities in the UK will have a direct global impact on cutting-edge technologies. This is further evidence that global companies are attracted to the UK because of the strength of our skills base and the Government’s investment in it."

Sun added: "I’m very pleased to be able to host his visit to our headquarters campus and to show him first-hand the cutting-edge technology which is enabling Huawei to build a better connected world."

The third UK-China Leadership Forum was organised collectively by UK Trade & Investment, the China Britain Business Council and Huawei Technologies. Supported by delegates from government, businesses and academia, the Forum explored the theme of Smart Cities, the impact of technology in urban environments, and how effective analysis of Big Data created by a city’s inhabitants can be used to improve the quality of city life.

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Huawei hosted a delegation of UK high-tech companies, facilitating a series of meetings between Huawei and local partners to discuss potential future collaboration and business opportunities.

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