Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Huawei buys shares in Oxford-related innovation fund despite U.S. bans

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 9th, 2019

Leading global communications company Huawei has purchased millions of shares in a research fund associated with the University of Oxford.

The investment will give Huawei early insight into cutting-edge innovations developed at Oxford. While the Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) fund isn’t directly tied to the university, it is dedicated to commercializing the technologies developed there. In the past four years, OSI has raised £600 million, with backing from Google Ventures, Sequoia Capital and other investors.

Huawei is reported to have bought about 4.1 million shares in OSI, translating to a 0.7% stake in the fund.

A Huawei spokeswoman comments, “We understand the importance of research and development and are committed to helping solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. As part of Huawei’s long-term commitment to the UK, we made a small investment in [OSI] in October 2018. We continue to support OSI in its ambition to bring new ideas to the world.”

The investment comes amid controversy surrounding U.S. allegations that Huawei steals IP from its tech companies, a charge that Huawei denies. The U.S. has also designated the company a security threat and has urged the UK and other allies to block Huawei.

According to a spokesman from OSI, “Huawei [is] a small investor in OSI. They do not have any preferred or special access to our companies or their underlying technology.”

In a February interview with the BBC, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei claimed the UK could fill the vacuum in business left by the U.S.

“We will invest even more in the UK, because if the U.S. doesn’t trust us, then we will shift our investment on an even bigger scale,” said Zhengfei.

Source: Business Insider

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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