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Huawei Loses NBN But Courts NSW Government

By Shelley Dempsey | Monday | 01/07/2013

China's Huawei, which lost its NBN business and is struggling to gain traction with local smartphone carriers and retailers, has launched a fresh assault on the Australian market, with a visiting senior executive calling for an "ecosystem of investment" during a speech in Sydney on Monday.

In her address to the Committee for Sydney, Huawei director Madam Chen Lifang says the NSW Government of Barry O'Farrell has "taken Huawei's relationship with New South Wales to a new level", after his visit to Huawei's Shanghai R&D centre in 2011, where he announced a partnership between Huawei and Macquarie University. The following year, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner visited Huawei's Shenzhen Headquarters, where he announced the successful rollout of Huawei technology in NSW Ambulances.

Click to enlarge

The efforts of the NSW government contrast with the decision by the Australian government last year to block Huawei from supplying equipment to the NBN on the advice of intelligence agencies.

In her speech in Sydney, Madam Chen voiced Huawei's desire to create an "ecosystem of investment" which is mutually beneficial for both Huawei and Australia. "This comes in many forms - from technology to finance to sustainability and more," she said. "For example, our global finance department recently visited Australia to meet with local banks, to discuss potential partnerships in corporate bonds, foreign exchange, and everyday banking. Just this week, our global CFO, Cathy Meng, has visited Australia to advance this process.

"Next month, our global procurement department will visit Australia to explore potential partnerships with Australian technology suppliers in an effort to cultivate greater links with small-to-medium enterprises in our global supply chain." The Australian members of Huawei's Board of Directors had also called for Huawei's next global R&D centre to be established in Australia, she said.

Huawei unveiled in London in June what it calls the slimmest smartphone in the world, the Ascend P6, to try and take market share away from the popular HTC One and the Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone. The new version will only run on a 3G network in Australia, but, a 4G version is due in October, although it is not known who will range the device.

Reports have also been published overseas that Huawei could be the next company to follow Samsung and HTC's lead, and offer a stripped-back 'Google Edition' of its latest handset, theAscend P6. Kevin Ho, president of Huawei's handset product division, told Pocket-Lint the company is in talks about making a P6 that'll run stock Android. "We are working with Google to analyse the possibility of bringing out a Huawei Ascend P6 with Google Edition," he said.

Huawei is looking at long-term growth in Australia, Madam Chen says. She also called for Australia and China need to adjust their thinking about how they can benefit each other. "It must be about more than just mining - Australia should position itself to benefit from China's "innovation boom" in the next decade, just as the "mining boom" has delivered dividends for the country over the last decade."

By creating a local board, hiring local experts, buying local components, and establishing local CSR partnerships, Huawei wants to be a best practice example of how Chinese companies should invest in Australia, she says.


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