HELSINKI, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Chinese telecoms equipment vendor Huawei Technologies plans to double its employees in Europe over the next few years and is setting up a research centre in Finland aimed at developing new smartphones, it said on Monday.
The expansion plans for Europe come two months since U.S. lawmakers alleged that Huawei's equipment could be used for Chinese espionage. The company has also been barred in Australia from tendering in its $38 billion high speed natonal high-speed broadband network project due to unspecified security concerns.
"Europe has proven to be quite an open business environment for Huawei," company spokesman Roland Sladek said.
Huawei said it plans to employ over 14,000 employees in Europe within three to five years, doubling the current workforce of around 7,000.
It also plans to spend 70 million euros ($91 million) over five years on the new R&D centre in Finland, the company's eleventh centre in the region, which will focus on developing smartphone technology.
The company has said it wants to launch new smartphones including Windows Phone 8 devices, which would add to the competitive pressure on Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia .
Mobile devices accounted last year for 22 percent of Huawei's business, which mostly focuses on routers and other telecoms equipment.
On Monday Huawei declined to give an estimated launch date for a new Windows Phone 8 device, but said its plans were "short term". ($1=0.7735 euros) (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Greg Mahlich)