Huawei ‘abandons Plans For £1bn Cambridge Research Campus

Huawei ‘abandons Plans For £1bn Cambridge Research Campus
Proposed campus design - Huawei Technologies UK/Huawei Technologies UK © Huawei Technologies UK/Huawei Technologies UK Proposed campus site application - Huawei Technologies UK/Huawei Technologies UK

Huawei's plans for a £1bn Cambridge research campus have been revealed in tact.

Huawei plans to build state-of-the-art facilities on the 500-hectare site near the Silicon Fan Hub, which will be used to produce broadband technology, microchips and artificial intelligence software.

But despite the promise to complete the first phase of construction by 2021, no ground has yet been broken. The Telegraph reports that the project has been "under review" since the explosion.

South Cambridgeshire councilors say their demands have been met with silence and planning permission for the site will now expire in five months.

The project's apparent blemish comes after the government banned Huawei equipment from most UK mobile and broadband networks, posing a threat to national security.

Huawei bought the Cambridge site for £37 million in 2018 and received planning permission in 2020. The original plan was to complete construction of the first phase of the campus by 2021.

Brian Mills, a councilor in the Sawston area where the Huawei campus is planned, said the company has been "very quiet" about the project, despite repeated attempts to contact the company itself and other company officials.

No activity has been seen at the site since the building permit was granted. The license expires in August of this year, unless the company indicates an update on the site.

Miles said: “When I tried to speak to Huawei about this, I got no response.

"It's a shame because in general the development has been well received here and the company is doing a lot of collaboration with the community.

Unfortunately, political considerations seem to have taken their toll. The whole project seems to have stalled.

Huawei said a review of the Cambridge campus was "in progress" but declined to say whether it planned to start work in the next five months.

The spokesman added: “We are aware of the status of the planning application which we reviewed internally during the outbreak.

Huawei said it had no record of any unanswered emails to Mr. Mills or others regarding the program.

The company previously said its investment in the Cambridge area represented a "significant financial commitment to the UK" that would position the country at the forefront of chip research and development.

The R&D facility focused on optical electronics used in broadband fiber optic cables and lasers. The planning application said the site would have been ideal for making microchip wafers.

Huawei has been forced out of Western markets after the United States raised security concerns about the company's relationship with the Chinese government and subsequently imposed heavy sanctions on it.

A review by the UK's National Security Council later concluded that Huawei's technology could not be safely guaranteed.

As a result, ministers have labeled the company's kit as "high risk" and ordered telecoms providers to remove it from UK 5G networks by 2027.

Between 2019 and 2021, Huawei's UK division's revenue will grow from £1.3bn to £481m, according to the report.

In accounts filed with Companies House, director Binbing Xiao said the company is currently "focused on selling non-restricted products ... although business volume is expected to decrease due to the external environment".

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