InvestigationThe Chinese telecommunications group, world leader in 5G, has been increasing lobbying initiatives in France for years. Its goal: to gain the confidence of political decision-makers.
She appears in a familiar setting of a bourgeois Parisian apartment, wearing a dark blue jacket, without primer. But it is from Shenzhen, the industrial megalopolis of China, that Catherine Chen speaks to the French, this January 26. The vice-president of telecommunications giant Huawei remotely chairs the ceremony organized at the headquarters of the Grand-Est region, in Strasbourg. We welcome, that day, “Huawei’s first production plant outside of China”. If she settles here, in Alsace, “With the help of the French state”, announces Catherine Chen in the video projected on the big screen, it is for “The excellence of the workforce and infrastructure”. In front of delighted local elected officials, the manager concludes: “We will work hand in hand. “
The world leader in 5G – with a global turnover of 80 billion euros and 180,000 employees – has bought land in the neighboring town of Brumath to build a 40,000 square meter factory. Its subsidiary Huawei Technologies France promises to invest 200 million euros in it and create 500 jobs, including 400 for French people. The subsidiary does not extend over the products manufactured, “Wireless base stations”, or motherboards and software placed on 4G and 5G antennas for user connection.
On the stage, the president (Les Républicains, LR) of the region, Jean Rottner, is pleased to welcome the company, which preferred the Brumath site to around fifty others. A few months before the regional elections, these rich promises for the local economy are still good to take. A little later, as an aside, the elected official admits the paradox that there is for a right-wing politician to deal with a company subject to the authority of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): “Is it necessary for all that to refuse value? “
A little revenge
The Alsatian factory will not produce before 2023. But here is, already, the Huawei flag planted in the heart of Europe. The subsidiary was able to “Show the Shenzhen headquarters that things are progressing”, rejoices the chairman of the board of directors (CA) of Huawei France, Jacques Biot.
After the research laboratory opened in the heart of Paris, in October 2020, the factory in January 2021. “Each announcement here makes other countries in Europe doubt about the harmfulness blamed on Huawei”, decodes, in Paris, an expert close to the issue, while the company has placed France and its political decision-makers at the top of its strategic priorities.
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