Huawei invests €70 Million in Finland to build better smartphones

The company will looking to hire ex-Nokia employees or hire away existing ones

Huawei Technologies will invest ¬70 million (US$90.6 million) over a five-year period to establish a research and development center in Helsinki, Finland; its first task will be to build software for smartphones and tablets based on Android and Windows Phone 8.

Huawei is currently the world's fifth largest smartphone vendor in terms of unit sales, but wants to enter the top three and is hoping to take advantage of Nokia's continuing struggles to make that happen, according to Neil Mawston, executive director at market research company Strategy Analytics.

"Huawei is being a little opportunistic in that it knows there will be a lot of well-qualified Nokia people in the Helsinki area who will be looking for alternative employment," Mawston said.

At first, Huawei plans to recruit 30 employees for the center, with the goal of hiring more than 100 people over five years, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Initial projects will focus on software development for smartphones, tablets and other types of devices, based on OSes such as Android and Windows Phone 8, Huawei said.

The company has yet to announce its first smartphone based on the latest version of Microsoft's OS, but is expected to do so soon.

The Helsinki R&D center will join an already established modem and technology design center in Sweden and a user interface research center in the U.K.

Huawei has a history of investing in the Nordic countries. Last year the company celebrated the tenth anniversary of its arrival in Sweden, which is the home country of Ericsson, its biggest rival in the mobile network sector.

Huawei currently employs more than 7,000 people across Europe.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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