INTERNATIONAL – Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies will invest $3.1 billion (R43bn) over the next three years in Italy, local media reported on Monday.
Addressing the press on the sidelines of an exhibition in Milan, Huawei's Italian unit chief executive Thomas Miao said the investment plan would allow 1,000 new direct jobs in the period 2019-2021, according to Ansa news agency.
More specifically, the plan would consist of some $1.2 billion invested in operations and marketing, and $1.9 billion in direct supplies, while $52 million would be added for research and development activities, Ansa also said.
Speaking to reporters, Miao stressed the solidity of Sino-Italian commercial ties. "They are two well-paired countries: Italy needs China, and vice versa, and I am very optimistic from a business point of view," state broadcaster RAI News24 cited him as saying.
The country chief executive also urged Italy to make a "transparent, efficient, and fair" use of its golden power on the development of 5G networks.
On Friday, in fact, the Italian government passed a decree boosting the so-called "golden power" legislation, and increasing the power of the state to intervene in the private sector of ICT infrastructure networks -- including 5G -- due to "urgent need to strengthen national security in strategic sectors".
Under the new decree -- which needs approval by parliament within 60 days -- Italian public and private companies must now inform the government of any purchase of 5G technologies from non-European suppliers.
Huawei-Italy's chief exceutive called for the new rules to be fair "for all suppliers", and not applied to extra-European providers only. "The 5G technology is very important," RAI cited Miao as saying.
The CEO added the new 5G golden power rules should be neutral and "apply to all, in order to be sure that -- from the first day -- we have a safe and reliable infrastructure, since the country needs to be ready before the roll-out".
Operating in the country since 2004, Huawei now employs some 850 people in Italy, and has inaugurated its new headquarters in Milan earlier this year.
In its 15-year activity, it has opened four innovations centers in cooperation with Italian ICT operators and a Joint Innovation Center for Smart & Safe City in cooperation with the regional government of Sardinia and its Center for Advanced Studies, Research, and Development (CRS4).
Huawei is the largest of five global companies currently selling 5G equipment and systems, the others being Chinese ZTE, Finnish Nokia, Swedish Ericsson, and South Korean's Samsung.