Watch out Nokia, Huawei is opening an R&D center on your doorstep

Soon enough, Nokia won’t be the only major smartphone manufacturer based in Finland. On Monday Huawei announced plans to found a research and development center in Helsinki to focus on software development for its mobile devices. The manufacturer will spend $90 million on the new facility, according to its official website. This R&D center seeks to hone and perfect Huawei’s user experience on both Android and Windows Phone 8 devices.

“We believe the key to building our brand is to provide consumers with a reliable and differentiated user experience,” Kenneth Fredriksen, VP of Huawei Central, Easter and Nordic Europe said in a statement. “The open and innovative environment in Finland is an ideal place for Huawei to strengthen our global R&D capabilities for devices, creating opportunities for both Huawei and the Finnish telecommunications industry.”

Competitor Nokia is based only 20 kilometers away from Huawei’s upcoming location. This new research center will join Huawei’s technology design center in Sweden and its $2 billion location in the UK.

This move is a testament to Huawei’s effort in becoming a major global player in the smartphone industry. The announcement comes just as Nokia has cut its own staff and closed down locations around the globe. Huawei may plan to draft off of those newly unemployed, but knowledgeable workers. While Nokia continues to pursue Windows Phone 8 as its flagship smartphone, its Chinese competitor has an advantage due to increasing demand for Android-based handsets.

Although Huawei may not be a household name for tech enthusiasts in the United States, the company is undoubtedly continuing to grow. According to Bloomberg, the manufacturer surpassed Nokia earlier in 2012 to become the third-largest smartphone maker.

“They’re the guys that don’t get a lot of respect because they’re not big in the US,” Horace Dediu, founder of equity research firm Asymco said to Bloomberg back in July. “But they’re looking at big numbers.”

The company originally made it big when it sold pay-as-you-go phones through vendors such as MetroPCS and Cricket. Last November, Huawei landed a deal with AT&T that allowed the carrier to begin selling its Impulse handset for only $29. Before long, Huawei started working with T-Mobile as well, who asked the manufacturer to build two models for the carrier’s MyTouch brand in July.

Now that Huawei has the attention of two major U.S. carriers, the company has made it clear that it plans to further this growth through its upcoming research center.

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