In 2005, Huawei opened its Amsterdam office in order to better serve the Benelux market. According to Richard Spaans, Communications & Public Affairs Manager for Huawei, Amsterdam was the obvious choice: “Many large telecom operators have their operations based here.”
Huawei is a Chinese company that manufactures telecommunications hardware and employs 420 people in the Netherlands, of whom about 30 percent are of Chinese origin. In addition, it offers IT services to the corporate market and smartphones and tablets to consumers. The company is active in more than 140 countries worldwide and counts 45 of the 50 largest telecom operators as part of its client base.
“Factors such as transportation and the open Dutch market were significant in setting up an office in the Netherlands,” said Spaans. “In Amsterdam, we are close to two large ports, we have Schiphol airport in our back yard and the Netherlands is very receptive to outside investment — and that makes it attractive to overseas companies.”
The NFIA assisted Huawei in identifying suitable office premises and guided the company through the procedures necessary to apply for a business license and residence and work visas for the company’s expat employees. “It was helpful to be able to rely on a partner that knows exactly how things work, so we could focus on our business,” said Spaans.
The Huawei office in The Hague was becoming too small due to growth, so the business relocated to larger premises in nearby Voorburg in late 2013. Spaans still remains in contact with various people at the NFIA and other agencies. “My experience has been positive. I get the impression that my contacts at NFIA, WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency (WFIA) and amsterdam inbusiness (aib) are very dedicated and always available for us. I particularly enjoy the quick responses I receive, which make for a pleasant working relationship.”