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Chinese tech giant unveils massive R&D program in New Zealand

CHINESE telecommunications giant Huawei announced Tuesday it is making a massive investment in research and development in New Zealand.

The plans included the building of a cloud data center and establishment of innovation labs in Christchurch and Wellington, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said in a statement.

The company would spend 400 million NZ dollars (281.8 million U.S. dollars) over five years on the investments, according to the New Zealand government.

Ren said he had met with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English on Tuesday to discuss ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure and digital transformation.

He also outlined the company's investment plan for New Zealand, including local procurement, research and development, and cloud computing infrastructure initiatives.

"New Zealand's open and fair trade environment, and its emphasis on developing new technology, facilitates our ongoing commitment," Ren said in the statement.

"New Zealand has rich tourism resources, and highly developed agricultural and trade sectors. Digital transformation empowered by advanced ICT technology can enable New Zealand to become better connected with the world, and transform its traditional strengths into driving forces of economic growth."

Huawei would work with local partners to build a New Zealand cloud data center, and would open an innovation lab at Victoria University of Wellington this year.

The lab will focus on the use of big data, and how to maximize the potential of the Internet of Things through future technology such as 5G.

Huawei would also seek new partnerships to establish an innovation lab in Christchurch.

It would also enable 100 New Zealand undergraduate students to travel to China over the next five years to study learn about cutting-edge technology and participate in cultural exchanges.

The company would open a regional office in Wellington, purchase more goods and services locally, and help local businesses integrate into its global supply chain network.

Huawei began its operations in New Zealand in 2005 and has provided much of the technology behind the New Zealand government's ultra-fast broadband initiative.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said the depth of the investment would touch many areas of the economy and open up global opportunities for New Zealand.

"The initiatives that Huawei is committing to will also help strengthen our research and development activity and capability building in the digital and technological world," Bridges said in a statement.


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