Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest networking and telecommunications equipment company, has enjoyed a rapid business expansion in Turkey’s 3G market and is actively investing in research and development (R&D), which may yield millions of dollars in revenue.
Turkey started implementing 3G mobile phone technology in 2009 and was regarded by many analysts as one of the most promising telecom markets for mobile technology. With 66 million mobile users, Turkey’s mobile usage rate is as high as 89 percent. Among them, 31 million are also 3G users. The potential to increase mobile technology and 3G penetration in Turkey is big, according to Zhao Xiaobin, director of Huawei Central Asia & Caucasia Region’s public affairs and communications department. “We are expecting rapid growth in 3G users in Turkey. The Turkish people exhibit strong interest in new technologies. It is easy to switch from 2G to 3G services; mobile users just need to send a mobile message to their network providers. And the price of 3G is affordable,” Zhao said, in an interview with Sunday’s Zaman. Seizing this business opportunity, Huawei has experienced fast growth in Turkey’s telecom market. With its first office established in Ankara in 2002, Huawei Turkey expanded quickly by opening regional headquarters in İstanbul and support centers in İzmir, Diyarbakır and Trabzon. It currently works with telecom companies like Turkcell, AVEA, Vodafone and Türk Telekom by providing 3G infrastructures, information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and telecom devices. At present, Huawei Turkey employs over 850 staff and serves as a management hub for Central Asia and the Caucasia region. “Turkey’s robust economy, growing domestic market, important strategic location and skilled labor force make it an ideal place to set up Huawei’s regional headquarters. From here, we are able to offer services to countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Albania, Georgia and Mongolia,” Zhao said.
$50 million spent on R&D investment
Attaching importance to R&D activities, Huawei Turkey works closely with local universities and research institutes to develop the latest telecom technology.
Huawei Turkey’s R&D center held its opening ceremony in İstanbul in February 2009, and $50 million was invested from 2009 to 2012. Approved by the Science, Industry and Technology Ministry in 2010, this is the second largest international research center that Huawei operates outside China. More than 50 percent of Huawei Turkey’s workforce is located here to provide leading hardware and software products, wireless technologies, new-generation networks analysis and up-to-date ICT solutions. One important part of the R&D center is the New Generation Technologies Laboratory. Co-established with İstanbul Technical University, it serves as a center to provide training for staff, subcontractors and customers. “Huawei Turkey has identified R&D as a priority area for investment, which is in accordance with the recent policy emphasis by the Turkish government. These years have seen a dramatic increase in the Turkish government’s R&D expenditures and favorable policy support with regard to science and technology developments. Turkey has experienced significant progress in the areas of science, technology and innovation,” Zhao told Sunday’s Zaman. Huawei’s active involvement in R&D investment projects and close cooperation with local universities will contribute to Turkey’s science and technology development, Zhao commented.
According to the annual report “Science, Technology and Innovation in Turkey 2010” from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), the number of full-time R&D personnel in Turkey has increased threefold since 1998, reaching 74,000 in 2009, of which 58,000 are researchers.
Three hundred fifty researchers and engineers are now working at Huawei Turkey’s R&D center, serving as an important part of Huawei’s global product development efforts. Huawei was recognized as the fifth most innovative company” by Fast Company after Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google and won an award for “corporate use of innovation” in 2010 by The Economist magazine.