Mobile phones by Huawei

Case Huawei

Huawei’s rapidly growing R&D center in Helsinki has a continuous need for talented mobile device experts. Invest in Finland has helped the company expand its operations and find the relevant information about the Finnish business landscape.

The Chinese tech industry heavyweight Huawei Technologies initially established its sales office in Helsinki, Finland in 2008, during an interesting period in the telecom industry. Around that time the era of 4G mobile networks was dawning, and the global smartphone boom was already underway with several new device manufacturers entering the market each year. Today, Huawei’s Finnish sales office handles everything from consumer mobile devices to enterprise IT, as well as clients in the carrier business.

In 2012 the company took an important step in a new direction when it opened a new R&D facility in Helsinki.
Huawei currently operates 16 R&D centers around the world, each with its own focus area. The Helsinki unit’s specialty is mobile device technology. This has much to do with the country’s strong mobile legacy that stems all the way from the 1980s.

“Finland is an amazingly competitive market in this field, due largely to the country’s extensive mobile device talent pool. The standard of education is among the highest in the world, and the market is full of experienced engineers with impressive career backgrounds,” says Dr. Guoping Luo, Head of the Reliability Competence Center at Huawei’s Finnish R&D center.


Huawei’s business has grown at a remarkable pace both globally and in Finland over the past years. As a result, the company has a constant pressure and need to expand in order to leverage the possibilities their rapid growth has given them.

Unsurprisingly, attracting and hiring the best possible talent available is a top priority for Huawei in this situation. The company’s R&D center in Helsinki is a prime example of their ambitious growth strategy. At the end of 2012, the center comprised 18 employees. A year later the headcount was around 80, and at the end of 2015, already some 160 employees worked in the Helsinki R&D center.

“Finnish engineers are famously creative and innovative, and as an investment they can be far more attractive than for example engineers in Germany or the Silicon Valley, when you consider their skill and the general salary level in Finland,” Luo mentions.

He believes that besides education, there are a few other factors that have contributed to the situation. According to Luo, Finland is characterized by its positive and welcoming attitude towards technology, and mobile devices in particular. Many also associate the country with high quality standards.

“When it comes to mobile devices, Finnish consumers are very conscious about quality, and this is of course reflected in our priorities. From what we have seen, it is very obvious that the concept of Finnish quality is not just a myth.”

Practical help from a local expert

Prior to opening its R&D center in Helsinki, Huawei partnered with Invest in Finland. The partnership has helped Huawei to find the necessary information about local laws, regulations and business practices, which has been crucial to setting up its operations quickly and efficiently, and getting to know the Finnish business ecosystem.

“Invest in Finland has been an important partner for us for years. They have helped us set up meetings with the authorities whenever needed, connect and network with the key players in the Finnish tech industry, and find the relevant information in every possible situation,” Luo mentions.

From Huawei’s perspective, Finland is a particularly attractive market for conducting R&D as foreign companies’ Finnish subsidiaries are considered equal to Finnish companies when it comes to government development programs and public R&D funding. Invest in Finland has also helped Huawei benefit from possibilities like these.

“Some European countries have similar government funding schemes in place, but there are big differences from country to country, and in certain aspects Finland can be significantly more beneficial to foreign companies. The fact that companies are treated fairly and impartially regardless of their origin has been very appealing and important to us from day one,” Luo concludes.