News that Chinese ICT giant Huawei plans to invest £2 billion in the UK comes just three weeks after West Midlands Euro MP Phil Bennion flew out for talks with the company's senior Vice President Guo Tianmin at it's HQ in Shenzhen.

West Midlands must be strong candidate for share of Huawei's £2 billion UK investment plansDr Bennion, a Lib Dem member of the European Parliament's Employment Committee and also the South Asia Delegation, welcomed the news released in a joint statement by Huawei and the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

He said: "This is fantastic news for the UK and following the discussions I had, I believe the West Midlands has a strong chance of being chosen as a location of one of Huawei's planned centres of excellence.

"As I noted in the piece I wrote last week for Eurofile magazine, Huawei defies the stereotype that many have of China. It is not a monolithic state corporation but a genuinely private business, owned by its employees rather like John Lewis.

"I was invited out to China to meet Guo Tianmin after talking to Huawei some months ago in Brussels. I visited both their huge factory and research facility at Shenzhen and another at Shanghai.

"Guo Tianmin asked me about the West Midlands and I was pleased to give him a comprehensive overview of the region and our strengths in precision engineering, also mentioning the approved expansion at Birmingham airport and plans to run direct flights to China.

"He was already familiar with the history of the region and I recall him saying it meant a lot to him that the West Midlands was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. We both agreed to pursue further cooperation in the future.

"I knew Huawei were planning further investment in Europe but I was not expecting an announcement so quickly. This is great news for the UK, we now need to try and ensure that the West Midlands is part of their investment plans."


Note: Eurofile magazine is available as a small download from the LDEG website:
Photo: Phil Bennion MEP at the Huawei exhibition hall with Wout Van Wijk, Guo Tianmin (second right) and Li Fan.

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