HUAWEI Technologies said it would invest US$3.1 billion in Italy over the next three years, as the Chinese telecom giant called on Rome to ensure the “transparent, efficient and fair” use of its “golden power” on 5G network development.
Speaking at an event in Milan on Monday, the chief executive of the telecom giant’s Italian unit, Thomas Miao, said Italy’s golden power — which allows the state to intervene in the private sector in the defense of national security — should be extended to all vendors in the European Union.
Miao said Huawei would add 1,000 jobs in the country over the next three years.
He also confirmed the Chinese company would cut 1,000 jobs in the United States. He said if the company is kept on a blacklist in August by Washington, it has “a plan B” to guarantee supplies of components.
The United States has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid Huawei equipment and also to closely scrutinize ZTE, alleging the vendors could pose a security risk. Both companies have strongly denied any such risk.
Italy’s ruling coalition, forged a year ago between the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the far-right League, endorsed China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan in March, becoming the first major Western power to back the initiative to help revive the struggling Italian economy.
Rome passed a decree last week strengthening its powers in infrastructure projects that involve the rollout of the country’s 5G telecoms network.
The decree must be approved by the parliament in the next 60 days or it will expire.
Huawei Italia’s Miao called for the 5G golden powers to be applied not only to non-EU companies but also to all EU vendors.
“It is very important that the 5G technology is neutral,” Miao said, adding that the new norms should apply “to all players to make sure that from day one we have a safe and reliable infrastructure.”
He also asked the government to speed up its approval procedures.