China's Huawei scores first big order from Germany
(dpa) - Huawei, the Chinese maker of telecommunications equipment, landed Tuesday its first big order in Germany, with a contract to supply part of a network to Telefonica's German wireless subsidiary O2.
The order highlighted a warning by German electronics manufacturing federation VDE that the "centre of gravity" of some electronics sectors was shifting to Asia, mainly China and India.
Released at this week's Hanover Fair trade expo, the VDE assessment said 74 new chip factories were currently planned in Asia, but only five in the whole European Union.
When multinationals relocated factories to China and India, the research laboratories and design studios soon followed.
But the VDE forecast that Germany would remain world leader till 2020 in the electromechanical, automation and medical-technology sectors.
In the microtechnology and nanotechnology sectors, Europe, China and the United States were in a neck-and-neck race to advance. It called on Monday for a "concerted programme" to boost EU microtechnology.
Explaining its contract with Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies, Telefonica of Spain said it aimed to completely emancipate its German mobile-phone operations from those of its German rival Deutsche Telekom by the end of next year.
Currently, a significant part of O2's service runs on the Telekom T-Mobile network.
Huawei is to both renew and install parts of the O2 network, said Jaime Smith, who heads the O2 business in Germany.
He did not disclose the price of the order.
Nokia Siemens Networks also won part of the order.
With 12.5 million customers, O2 is the smallest of Germany's four mobile operators.
Its Spanish parent has reserved 3 billion euros (4.8 billion dollars) by 2010 to expand the O2 system.