PARIS -- Chinese telecom firm Huawei announced on Monday plans to invest 70 million euros (US$90 million) to open up a research and development centre for smartphone and tablet software in Finland, home to rival Nokia (IW1000/86).
"The open and innovative environment in Finland is an ideal place for Huawei to strengthen our global R&D capabilities for devices, creating opportunities for both Huawei and the Finnish telecommunications industry," said Kenneth Fredriksen, Vice-President, Huawei Central, Eastern and Nordic Europe.
The company said the center, which is to start with 30 employees and grow to 100 within five years, will focus on software development for smartphones, tablets and rich-media devices using Andriod and Windows Phone operating systems.
Finland is the headquarters of Nokia, until recently the world's top mobile phone manufacturer. The company is shedding thousands of jobs as it restructures towards using Windows Phone 8 for its smartphones. Nokia previously had programmers developing its own smartphone operating system.
"I think this is another example on how other companies like Huawei can take advantage of the fact that Nokia is firing 10,000 people," said Magnus Rehle from the strategy firm Greenwich Consulting.
"There are a lot of highly skilled people who can help Huawei to make cheap Android-based smartphones for the growing markets outside Europe and the United States," he added.
Huawei has ambitions to expand globally, although concerns about its possible ties to the Chinese state have raised concerns in several Western countries.
Huawei announced in September it would invest $2.0 billion in Britain and roughly double its workforce in the country within five years.
The company currently has 7,000 employees in Europe and 70,000 involved in R&D worldwide.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012