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Huawei to fund new tech hub at Imperial College London

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is to fund a new £5 million ($6.1 million, 5.6-million-euro) technology hub at Imperial College London, British media reported.

The institution did not confirm or deny the reports when contacted by AFP, and said an announcement about the project would be made on Tuesday.

“Imperial, like other UK universities, has received support from Huawei for high-quality and open research for several years, and we are continuing this work,” a spokesman said.

“Such funding continues to be subject to the college’s robust relationship review policies.”

The Mail on Sunday last weekend said some British lawmakers were opposed on security grounds to Huawei’s involvement in developing Imperial’s west London campus.

The weekly said the Chinese firm would provide and run a superfast 5G internet network, and fund research over the next five years.

Its involvement comes after controversy about the company’s bid to build next generation 5G mobile networks in Britain and across Europe.

The United States has claimed the equipment can be used to spy for Beijing. Ties with Washington have been strained as European countries have resisted US calls for a ban.

Britain and France in particular have decided not to bar Huawei, which strongly denies any charge of subterfuge, but have imposed restrictions on its operations.

With Oxford University, Imperial is currently involved in the global search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith, a high-profile opponent of Huawei’s involvement in UK infrastructure, called the reported tie-up “deeply worrying and dangerous”.

“This is a perfect example of how the Chinese strategy is to use their money to insert their influence in the world’s intellectual thought process,” he said.

—Tech Xplore

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