Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Business news: Huawei expands its European research network


http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/v6/n5/full/nphoton.2012.79.html 

Nadya Anscombe
Nature Photonics 6, 276 (2012) doi:10.1038/nphoton.2012.79
Published online 02 May 2012

Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei has bought the UK-based Centre for Integrated Photonics (CIP), securing 58 jobs as well as the future of this ground-breaking research laboratory.

The future of CIP looked uncertain as it was owned by the soon-to-be-disbanded East of England Development Agency (EEDA). In 2003 the EEDA saved CIP from closure after its owner, US firm Corning, pulled out of the UK. Although this move secured the short-term future of CIP, its future seemed bleak after the UK Government announced that all regional development agencies, such as the EEDA, will close by March 2012.

CIP's CEO, Peter Wharton, told Nature Photonics: “Many of the optical components that are now taken for granted in telecommunications systems were pioneered at CIP. It was important for us to find a buyer that didn't just want to acquire our technology and take it home. We were also looking for a buyer who could make a commitment to keeping our facility, as Corning had spent a lot of money refurbishing and updating it. The last six months of working closely with Huawei has more than met our expectations, building the foundations for an excellent working relationship.”

The deal, which is worth more than US$10 million, means CIP will eventually be incorporated into Huawei's extensive European research and development network. However, Huawei has agreed to let CIP continue working for its external customers in the short term. “Huawei has agreed to let us give our current customers time to find alternative suppliers,” said Wharton. “Because what we do is so tailored, some of our customers are finding it difficult to move elsewhere. Huawei has told us to keep supplying these customers and to help them make other arrangements. This process could take several years.”


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