Huawei is head-hunting in South Australia


Chinese manufacturer Huawei yesterday announced it would create 50 new jobs in South Australia, as part of its commitment to build Vodafone Hutchinson Australia’s new network; news that comes as the state’s Premier Mike Rann is visiting the company’s facilities in China.

Huawei first established its presence in Australia in 2004 with headquarters in Sydney. Current figures, available on the company’s website, show Huawei employs 400 staff in Australia, of which more than 80 per cent are locals. Among the customers in its portfolio, the telco can name Vodafone Hutchinson Australia and Optus, as well as a slew of smaller groups.

Its presence in the Australian market became more visible when, earlier this year, Huawei beat competitors Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson and Chinese vendor ZTE in a long tender process to upgrade VHA’s network across the country. At the time it was awarded the contract, Huwaei announced it would hire an extra 300 staff to meet the requirements of building VHA’s new network.

Yesterday, during South Australia Premier Mike Rann’s visit to Huawei’s Shanghai R&D Centre, the mobile telco announced it would create 50 new jobs in South Australia and would open a new office in Adelaide. This move – Huawei said in a statement – aims at easing the process of rolling out VHA’s network in South Australia as well as at establishing a stronger presence in the SA market.

Huawei corporate and public affairs director Jeremy Mitchell said in a statement the telco was committed to double its total Australian workforce: “Huawei will create 50 new jobs in South Australia this year alone, and Huawei’s total Australian workforce is set to double from 300 to over 600 this year.”

SA Premier Rann said the announcement was a win for the telecommunications industry as well as for the commercial relationships between China and South Australia. “This is great news for South Australia’s growing communications technology industries,” he said. “As a state, we have been committed to strengthening our links with China, and today’s announcement by Huawei further builds on those ties.”

In a statement, Huawei said the office in Adelaide would be used as a hub for its work in South Australia, where the telco will work in cooperation with VHA to upgrade the existing network. Huawei will replace VHA’s 2G and 3G mobile equipment across up to 450 sites, implement an additional 850MHz 3G layer across the entire VHA network and finally will install equipment in 100 new South Australian sites to improve coverage and capacity.

Mitchell said the Adelaide office would not only assist in the rollout of the VHA’s network, but would also provide a base to expand the telco’s presence in the SA’s market. “South Australia will play an increasingly important role in Huawei’s local business, particularly as we work with Vodafone in deploying mobile network upgrades across the state,” he said. “Opening a new office in Adelaide will not only give us an established base for the Vodafone rollout, but will also allow Huawei to engage with new business opportunities in the State.”

Vodafone’s state manager for South Australia Steven Hobson said Vodafone was working hard to develop its network capabilities in South Australia and that the southern suburbs of Adelaide would play a key role in Vodafone’s forthcoming NBN trials. “We already employ around 50 people at our Adelaide office and Huawei’s new office will form an important strategic headquarters for our network upgrade throughout South Australia, which is now underway,” he said.

Image Credit: Will Hawksworth, royalty free