By Daniel Hunter
On the latest leg of his trip to strengthen economic ties between Britain and China, the Chancellor has today (Wednesday) welcomed investment commitments from two of China’s internet giants — Huawei and Rekoo - confirming the UK’s status as a world centre for digital innovation.
Huawei have confirmed plans for a new $200m R&D centre in the UK as part of their US$2 billion investment commitment to the UK. Currently, Huawei employs over 80 R&D engineers in its existing UK R&D office in Ipswich. They will now employ a total of 300 high-tech R&D positions in the UK by 2017.
Meanwhile a leading Asian social gaming company, Rekoo, has announced that it will be the first high-profile Chinese tech company set up in London’s Tech City. Rekoo has more than 15 million daily PC gamers and 10 million daily smart phone gamers.
The Chancellor has made opening up “e-trade routes” and promoting Britain’s global advantage in the tech sector — a sector that will help drive both countries’ future growth — a key priority of his trip. A delegation of British tech companies has accompanied him on the trip to showcase the best of Britain’s digital technology industry in China, strengthen ties between British and Chinese companies and help British companies gain access to the fast expanding Chinese market.
Technology solutions will play a crucial role in the next stage of China’s development in areas like smart cities, e-health and education technology — all areas represented in the UK’s delegation.
The delegation has been designed to introduce UK companies to the ‘gatekeepers’ to online Chinese consumers. The companies include social media platforms such as Sina Weibo and Tencent or search engine Baidu. They are themselves fast becoming the largest online brands in the world.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: "China's growth in high tech industries is a huge opportunity for Britain - we have some of the most innovative tech companies in the world and China offers them a huge export market. I am delighted to be introducing some of China's tech giants in Shenzen to some of Britain's leading tech entrepreneurs. Huawei and Rekoo’s investment into the UK is a great testament to Britain's tech industry and I am here to make sure that relationship goes from strength to strength."
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London’s dynamic tech cluster, from Kings Cross to Shoreditch and Whitechapel, already boasts close to 50,000 tech related jobs. As a leading light in China’s tech scene, Rekoo’s decision is another huge boost for the capital’s digital industries. Making the most of the great minds, talented workforce, and market opportunities within immediate access of our Tech City makes absolute sense which is why London is fast becoming the digital capital of the world.”
Ren Zhengfei, Huawei Founder and CEO, said: "I am proud to welcome Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to our headquarters in Shenzhen. The UK is home to some of the best high-tech professionals in the world. Their creativity is a major asset to our R&D efforts, helping us produce the most advanced and competitive telecoms and broadband services available. Combined with an open and free-trade economy, this makes it a very good investment environment for Huawei. I have every confidence in Huawei's future in the UK.”
Lisa Pan, Vice President of Rekoo, said: “Opening up an office in London’s Tech City is a great move for Rekoo as it allows us to be the bridge between the European and Chinese mobile gaming markets. Companies in the UK produce very high quality games, and being in London means we can attract world-class talent and find new business opportunities with UK and European developers.”
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