As an example of Chinese innovation operating in Canada, Huawei Technologies Canada Co. is seen as an outstanding breed.
Eighteen months ago, the telecommunications company launched a research and development centre in the Ottawa suburb and high-tech hub of Kanata, one of 20 operated around the world by its parent company, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Now employing more than 120 researchers, developers and engineers, the company will double that number to 250 employees in the next 18 months, its president, Sean Yang, told an audience in Beijing Monday.
Perhaps not unexpectedly for an address to Canadian and Chinese business executives gathered for the Canada-China Business Council’s annual general meeting, Mr. Yang was full of enthusiasm for his Canadian host governments -- praising, for instance, the $6.5-million provincial tax credit the company received for its $67-million R&D investment. Huawei has more than 400 employees in Canada at present, including its headquarters in Markham, Ont., and branch offices in Montreal and Edmonton.
“It’s quite good for a business environment, compared to the United States,” Mr. Yang said, calling Canadian minds more open and its governments more accommodating. “It is a very flexible culture and at the same time there is very good talent in human resources.”
Even as natural resources dominate most conversations of Chinese investment in Canada, Huawei is held up as an example of other possibilities that could arise.
“Over the last year we are starting to see more technological co-operation, more technology businesses coming to Canada,” said Martin Cauchon, a former Chretien-era cabinet minister now a partner in the Montreal office of law firm Gowlings , who was also part of a panel discussing Canada’s investment climate. “There is a saying that if you can’t beat them, join them …I believe on the technology side there is a door open and I see that in the two-way trade.”