Case study

Huawei strengthens its R&D with Finnish ICT know-how

Chinese ICT company Huawei has made a strategic investment of EUR 70 million in an R&D centre in Finland. The company finds the Finnish business environment open and easy going plus the country serves as an ideal test bed for the new mobile device technologies.

Huawei has been expanding rapidly in Europe and its latest investment in research and development in Helsinki, Finland was a natural step forward at the end of 2012. The Helsinki R&D centre will be a key driver in Huawei’s smartphones, tablets and media-rich devices by optimising the user experience of existing operating systems such as Android and Windows Phone 8. The company believes in building its brand by providing consumers with a reliable and differentiated user experience.


Previously, Huawei had opened a sales department here in 2008, which has supplied USB modems and network solutions. The new Helsinki R&D centre will hire more than 100 employees in the next five years, which will serve as one of Huawei’s core centres for device development, together with its modem and technology center in Sweden and the user interface research centre in the United Kingdom.


“Finland is one of the leading countries in telecoms technology and the birthplace of Linux, the open source operating system that we use in our network solutions and hardware technology. We regard the Finnish business environment as very open and the government’s attitude as welcoming foreign investment. The FDI functions are ready to serve us here,” says Bai Zhimao, Country Manager of Huawei Finland.

 

Competent professionals and effective networking


Huawei is pleased with the level of Finnish ICT know-how which has been built up over the last 30 years of mobile technology development thanks to world-class companies, such as Nokia. Finland is well-known for its excellent education system and innovative cooperation between companies and universities.


“It is easier to find top class engineers in Finland than many other countries at the moment,” says Timo Jokiaho, Vice President of Huawei’s Finland R&D Center.


Huawei is also pleased with the smooth cooperation with research institutes in Finland. The company is already starting a research project with Tampere University of Technology and has discussions ongoing with the Aalto University too.


“It is relatively easy to network in Finland, thanks to the transparency and entrepreneurial attitude of its society,” Timo Jokiaho explains.
In addition, Jokiaho thanks the excellent air connections to the east from Finland. It is not only essential, but often vital for the Chinese company to be able to fly directly to four major cities in China from Helsinki.


Huawei considers the Finnish ICT customer very knowledgeable and demanding which is an advantage when benchmarking the newest technology. For example, when Huawei started to use its Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology in Finland, this was its debut in Europe. In the cooperation with Finnish telecoms operator TeliaSonera, Huawei has tested its telecommunications networks tailored for cold climate conditions in Finnish Lapland.


Positive indicators for ICT business in Finland

 

At the moment, Huawei has around 25 employees in its Helsinki R&D centre and plans to hire at least 10 more in the near future. The next two months will be crucial for the company’s expansion policy in Finland with important decisions to be made on whether the rhythm will be faster than scheduled or not. By the end of spring 2013, the R&D centre will have moved to bigger premises in Ruoholahti, which has good public transport connections such as Helsinki's metro. At the end 2013, Huawei is confident that it will have its usability and user experience testing up and running successfully in Finland.


Besides focusing on developing smartphone software and user interfaces, Huawei aims to carry out its newest 5G research while continuing its radio interface development. Furthermore, Huawei is interested in collaborating with other companies in Finland.


“There are many positive indicators for the telecommunications business in Finland at the moment from our point of view. We believe that our business plans will be of benefit to the whole of Finnish society,” states Timo Jokiaho enthusiastically.


Invest in Finland service helped smooth the investment process


Invest in Finland has worked closely with Huawei during its whole investment process in Finland. Alpo Akujärvi from Invest in Finland contacted Timo Jokiaho in the early stage of the process and provided Huawei with detailed information of Finnish ICT opportunities, competent professionals and suitable premises in Finland.


“Invest in Finland was able to give us many concrete answers to our questions. I was positively surprised by Invest in Finland’s ability to act so quickly,” thanks Timo Jokiaho.

 

Bai Zhimao finds the Finnish employees very honest and hard-working. After having lived for four years in Finland, he is very positive about the well-organized systems of the Finnish society.