PARIS: Chinese telecom giant Huawei said Thursday that it would begin manufacturing radio equipment for next-generation 5G networks in France.
The 200-million-euro (US$218-million) facility will employ 500 people and produce equipment for the European market, Huawei chairman Liang Hua told a press conference in Paris.
The announcement comes two weeks after France said it would not bow to American pressure to exclude Huawei from supplying equipment for its 5G networks - a stance also taken by Britain.
While saying it would not discriminate against Huawei, the French government said it would nonetheless prioritise European operators, such as Nokia or Ericsson.
The US contends that Huawei is too close to the Chinese government and that its equipment could be used as a tool for spying - a contention the company has denied.
A US court last week dismissed a challenge by Huawei to a ban on the purchase of its products by US federal agencies.
5G, or fifth generation, networks offer vastly higher cellular communication speeds compared with the 4G networks currently used widely, which could unlock a variety of new applications.