Huawei bolsters R&D with acquisition of CIP Technologies

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. has acquired the photonics research laboratory, Centre for Integrated Photonics Ltd. (CIP), from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) in the UK.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. has acquired the photonics research laboratory, Centre for Integrated Photonics Ltd. (CIP), from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) in the UK.

CIP has a long and distinguished heritage. Located at Martlesham Heath near Ipswich, the center has been a location for photonics research activity since the 1970s when it was the home of BT Research. Corning took over BT Research in 2000. When Corning decided to close the facility down at the end of 2002 in response to the industry downturn, EEDA came to the rescue.

CIP was launched commercially on January 1, 2004 to act as a photonics development facility for both universities and industry alike. Its funds came from three main sources: EEDA, involvement in European Union and UK Research Council projects, and commercial contracts.

Over the years, CIP has notched up some significant achievements, notably in the field of hybrid photonic integration (see "CIP launches HyBoard hybrid photonic integration platform" and "Dual-channel photonic 2R regenerator delivers 100 Gbps").

"CIP has a reputation as a world-class incubator in fiber-optic transmission and carries out world-leading cutting-edge research work in this hi-tech area," Huawei claimed in a statement. Huawei says it plans to continue to invest in fiber-optic R&D to ensure that CIP remains an innovator in this important technology sector.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but EEDA seems quite happy. "This is a tremendous investment success story for EEDA, which acquired CIP in 2003 from its then American owners to save it from closure," said Professor Will Pope, EEDA’s chairman. "Following restructuring and investment in the business we’re very pleased to find such a prominent acquirer for the company where the skills of the staff and the accumulated know-how are to be exploited on an international scale."

CIP’s CEO, Peter Wharton, added, "We had a good level of interest from potential acquirers, but the management team and staff overwhelmingly backed EEDA’s view of the Huawei bid. The last six months of working closely with Huawei has more than met our expectations, building the foundations for an excellent working relationship."

Currently, Huawei has six research facilities in Europe, and in 2011 the company announced plans to double its UK workforce to 1,000 in addition to opening a European design center for its mobile device business and an internal audit center, both located in the UK.

Huawei says the purchase of CIP demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to R&D in the UK. "I’m confident that CIP’s strong research abilities and its talented staff will further extend our European research presence to the UK, a key and important market to the company," said Victor Zhang, CEO of Huawei UK.

Huawei says it will retain the CIP R&D team, which will become the core of the new Huawei UK R&D centre.

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