Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co. plans to expand its research and development operation in India with the addition of 700 new staff over the next two years.
Huawei currently has about 1,300 staff at its development centers around Bangalore, said George Huang, chief operating officer of Huawei Technologies India, Huawei's development subsidiary in India. The company is also planning to consolidate all its development centers into a single facility in which it is investing $100 million.
The development operation in Bangalore is Huawei's largest outside China. It is focused on the development of software for fixed networks, network management, intelligent networks, and mobile handsets. Huawei's other development facilities outside China are located in the U.S., Russia, and Sweden.
The company is also finding new opportunities in the Indian market for its 3G (third generation) mobile networks and other technologies, said Thong Poh Wah, the company's spokesman for the Asia-Pacific region. Last month it bagged a $200 million contract from a large telecommunications services provider, Reliance Communications in Mumbai, for expanding its wireless network.
Huawei is also in negotiations for a large managed services contract from mobile services provider Bharti Airtel. If it wins this contract, it will be the first for the company in India. The company has some 500 technical staff in a sales, marketing, and support operation in Gurgaon near Delhi that can be easily redeployed to offer managed services in India to telecommunications service providers, Thong Poh Wah said.
Huawei and some other Chinese companies were previously treated as security risks by sections of the Indian government, particularly by its security agencies. China and India have a long-standing border dispute which led to a war between the two countries in 1962.
The distrust of Chinese companies does not exist anymore as trade between the two countries has increased, and Huawei does not now face any problems in this regard when doing business in India, Thong Poh Wah said.
Huawei had earlier announced an interest in setting up a manufacturing facility in India, but said that a final decision on that will depend on sales volumes picking up in the Indian market. The company currently supplies equipment to the Asia-Pacific region from its facilities in China.
A number of telecommunications equipment makers including Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Nokia have set up manufacturing facilities in India.