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Hungary, Huawei sign MoU fleshing out cooperation

Hungaryʼs government signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday strengthening the role of Chinese telecom giant Huawei in the development of the countryʼs ICT sector, state news wire MTI reported the Ministry for Innovation and Technology as saying.   

The MoU was signed in Budapest by Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics and Wu Biqiang, CEO of Huawei Technologies Hungary. The document outlines concrete measures the sides will take under an agreement signed by the ministry and Huawei in China in November 2018.

Huawei will continue to organize visits to China by Hungarian university students and will launch an engineer training program with the aim of bringing some 200 young Hungarians up to speed on its technological advances over the next five years. Huawei will also soon open an ICT academy in Hungary.

Palkovics said the MoU creates new perspectives for ties between Hungary and Huawei. Wu Biqiang said Hungaryʼs balanced business environment is appreciated, adding that it is important to foster talents and develop the knowledge of Hungarian engineers.

The MoU also declares Hauweiʼs desire to participate in the development of Hungarian railway communications infrastructure, intelligent healthcare and smart cities.

Cooperation despite concerns

The Hungarian governmentʼs cooperation with the Chinese giant has been stepped up despite security anxieties expressed in some quarters, especially on the part of the United States. When visiting Budapest in February, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concern over Huaweiʼs presence in Hungary.

"What’s imperative is that we share with [Hungary] the things we know about the risks that Huawei’s presence in their networks presents," said Pompeo at the time, describing these as "actual risks to their own people, to the loss of privacy protections for their own people, the risk that China will use this data in a way that is not in the best interest of Hungary. We have an obligation to share that information with them, and we will do so," he added.

As the BBJ reported in April, Huawei Technologies Hungary has been on a rapid growth path in recent years, seeing USD 280 million revenue in 2018. The manufacturer’s phones are among the most popular brands in Hungary, with its flagship Mate 20 Pro device being the best-seller in Hungary out of all European countries, relative to the size of the markets, in 2018.

Last year, the Hungarian subsidiary says it carried out successful next-generation 5G network tests with Magyar Telekom and Vodafone Magyarország. By the end of 2018, more than an estimated three-quarters of Hungarians were users of Huawei equipment in their daily communication; not only through smartphones, but also antennas, base stations, switches, and servers, the company claims. The company also launched its Europe operations and maintenance center in Hungary in 2017, which aims to help provide cloud solutions for European operators.