Chinese telecom firm Huawei is to increase its presence in India’s growing market and focus on 4G, after the company was barred from competing for a contract relating to Australia’s national broadband network on national security grounds.
Now, according to a Business Line report, the company has set its sight on India, where it is aiming to increase its investment and presence to capitalise on the emergence of 4G mobile technology.
Huawei hasn’t revealed exact details of its planned investment, but India-based official Suresh Vaidyanathan confirmed the new impetus: “4G services are being rolled out (and) Huawei is scaling up India operation in terms of man power, technology and investment.”
Bharti Airtel was rumored to be close to introducing India’s first 4G cellular network last month, but no service has rolled out as yet. Aside from Airtel’s impending plans, its rivals (and Huawei customers) Reliance Communications and Tata Communications are said to be readying networks for launch in what could be a big year for telecom in India.
With its tighter focus, Huawei is reportedly aiming to increase the $1.2 billion revenue it generated in India last year by 40 percent in 2012. The company says it has a 45 percent market share in providing 4G equipment and services, and it is looking to increase that as operators go beyond 3G in the world’s second most populous country.
The news of Huawei expansion in India comes less than a week after Huawei was barred from competing for the national broadband tender in Australia, a move that the country’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard described as being as “for Australia’s national interests”.
Gillard’s stance is likely to be further tested however, as Huawei hasn’t given up on other pieces of the national broadband pie, with its chiefs keen to bid for other business in the tender.
Huawei claimed that it is “part of the solution”, but the repercussions of Australia’s move may be significant for the firm in other global markets. It is said to have triggered a response from Indian authorities, for example, who are closely scrutinising the Chinese giant, according to comment from an anonymous insider. However there has been no official statement in India.
Huawei has faced similar criticism in the US, where a previous business deal was blocked and, alongside fellow Chinese firm ZTE, it faced investigation over whether its market presence poses a threat to American national security.
Much of the initial criticism of the firm came from reports in October claiming that it was knowingly assisting the government in Iran to monitor citizens by selling its equipment there. The firm denied the charges in the initial aftermath, and again in January when Congress members began looking into the allegations.
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