PTAmalaga.jpgHuawei Technologies, the Chinese telecoms equipment supplier, is to open a technical support centre in Spain to serve its growing number of carrier customers in Spain and Latin America.

Huawei will invest around €10m in the “global technical assistance centre” which will be located in a technology park (pictured) outside Malaga on Spain's Mediterranean coast and employ around 50 people. It should be up and running before the end of the year.

The initial focus to is provide technical support for Huawei's Spanish-speaking customers, most particularly Telefónica, Spain's former monopoly operator, which is Huawei's biggest customer in Spain. Ironically, one of the technology park 's existing tenants, Vitelcom, is on the verge of closure because of a lack of orders from Telefónica, according to this local newspaper story (Spanish).

Vitelcom, Spain's only handset maker, originally supplied Telefónica with “white label” mobile phones which the carrier then branded as its own. China's handset makers have had a lot of success in this “white label” market but Vitelcom has suffered from a recent change of strategy at Telefónica which in 2006 went back back to buying the lion's share of its handsets from brand-name manufacturers.

The Huawei deal provides a boost for the Malaga park, which has struggled to attract big-name foreign tech companies. Such companies are crucial for creating the “clustering” effect, which is seen as one of the keys to the success of Silicon Valley and which China is working hard to recreate in its science and technology parks — see this EngagingChina story.

As well as Telefónica, Huawei has a growing number of carrier customers in the Spanish-speaking world including Vodafone España, which just awarded Huawei a contract to expand its 3G mobile network. Park officials hope that Huawei will eventually expand the role of the centre to do not just technical support but also R&D. Huawei currently has R&D centres in China, Silicon Valley, Dallas, Stockholm and Moscow.

More EngagingChina stories on Huawei here.

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