Huawei to build 5G network equipment factory in France, despite curbs

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The Chinese telecoms giant Huawei said Thursday it would open a manufacturing facility in eastern France for mobile phone equipment linked to 5G technology.

At least 200 million euros will be invested to get the facility in the French eastern town of Brumath up and running, creating 300 jobs initially. This is despite French curbs on firms using Huawei's 5G gear.

Located near the border with Germany, the site aims to produce 1 billion euros of equipment per year for the European market.

"With this factory built at the crossroads of Europe, Huawei will enrich its already rich presence on the continent with 23 research and development centres, more than 100 partner universities, more than 3,100 suppliers and an effective supply chain," the company said in a statement.

The United States views Huawei's mobile network as a spying risk, and last year Donald Trump's administration blacklisted the telecom giant over security concerns.

While Huawei has rejected accusations that Beijing could access its equipment to snoop on voice and data traffic, an increasing number of countries, including France, have restricted or outright banned Huawei hardware from their 5G mobile networks.

Huawei is also facing increased pressure over claims its facial recognition technology has been used to seek out members of China's Uighur Muslim minority and send alerts to police. The company denies the accusations.

Last week, Barcelona football player Antoine Griezmann said he was ending his Huawei contract over the Uighurs claims.

(with AFP)