FRANKFURT–Chinese networking and devices maker Huawei Technologies Co. may be locked out of the U.S. for now, but in Europe it’s on a deal-making frenzy.

The Chinese firm has inked 15 deals teaming up with European firms so far this year, almost as many as in all of 2014. The partnerships focus on everything from cloud storage and telecoms equipment to the automotive and security industries. Partners include European telecom major Deutsche Telekom AG, software maker SAP SE and Munich-based Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which helped develop the digital Audi o file standard MP3.

“Europe is an open, welcoming place to do business and it is becoming more and more like a second home market for Huawei,” William Xu, Huawei’s chief strategy-marketing officer, said in an interview.

All but shut out of the U.S., Huawei is betting it can help Europe connect traditional manufacturers and industries to the Internet. “I don’t believe the U.S. will lead in the ‘Internet of things,’” Mr. Xu said. “We believe Europe is well positioned to lead the world in industrial digitization.”

A congressional report in 2012 concluded that Huawei posed risks to national security, alleging that the company’s equipment could become a vehicle for Chinese spying. This limits Huawei’s main business of providing network equipment in the U.S. None of the four big carriers there uses Huawei equipment, the company says. Huawei has called the report misleading.

The U.S. market isn’t completely closed. Huawei sells smartphones to American consumers. But the market is a small one for the giant supplier. Huawei is currently the world’s fourth-largest smartphone supplier, with a 5.2% market share in the first quarter, according to industry research firm IDC. But in the U.S., it is ranked 13 out of 21 vendors, with a market share less than 1% and just over 110,000 devices shipped in the first quarter.

That has kept Europe at the center of Huawei’s international expansion. “Over the last two to three years our company has increased the number of its partnerships with major European companies and has also heavily invested into its European research and development centers,” Mr. Xu said.

Earlier this year, Huawei announced a partnership with Volkswagen AG, jointly demonstrating a suite of apps that will allow users of Huawei phones to safely link their devices to information and entertainment systems in selected Volkswagen vehicles. The Chinese firm also provides super-fast-LTE-connectivity in Audi’s Q7 SUV. And last month, Huawei announced it was tying up with Deutsche Telekom to expand the German telecoms giant’s cloud business in Europe.

Archibald Preuschat


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