Chinese vendor details €261 million plan to build data centre, innovation labs.

Huawei founder and permanent CEO Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday unveiled plans to open a data centre and research labs in New Zealand.

Ren visited the country and met with prime minister Bill English to discuss working with local partners to build a New Zealand Cloud Data Centre. The Chinese vendor will also open an Innovation Lab at Victoria University of Wellington this year, and is on the hunt for R&D partners for the purpose of opening a second lab in Christchurch.

The labs will focus on big data, IoT, and 5G.

"New Zealand has rich tourism resources, and highly developed agricultural and trade sectors. Digital transformation empowered by advanced ICT technology can enable New Zealand to become better connected with the world, and transform its traditional strengths into driving forces of economic growth," Ren said.

In addition to a data centre and innovation labs, Huawei will also open a regional office in Wellington, and has pledged to purchase more goods and services locally.

It will also extend its Seeds for the Future programme to New Zealand, giving 100 undergraduates the chance to visit China to learn about technology and participate in cultural exchanges.

According to a Xinhua report, Huawei’s investment plan for New Zealand amounts to NZ$400 million (€261.35 million).

Huawei’s announcement comes ahead of an official visit to New Zealand by Chinese premier Li Keqiang next week.

China is New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner. Two-way trade reached NZ$23 billion in 2016. 400,000 Chinese tourists visited the country last year, spending NZ$1.6 billion. Furthermore, nearly 35,000 Chinese students are studying in New Zealand.