China's telecommunications giant Huawei has bought millions of shares in the Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) research fund linked to the University of Oxford, The Financial Times has reported.
The fund has no direct links to the university but is believed to have access to spin-off companies dealing with defence, healthcare, manufacturing, and artificial intelligence. The OSI has raised $736 million in the past four years from 70 shareholders. According to records filed at Companies House in the UK, Huawei bought about 4.1 million shares, which translates to a 0.7% stake in OSI.
In January, Oxford University issued a statement, which said that "in the light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei," the university was cutting ties with the tech giant. But the OSI investment was made prior to that, in October 2018, a Huawei spokeswoman said, as quoted by Business Insider. Meanwhile, an OSI spokesman stressed that Huawei's investment does not give "any preferred or special access to our companies or their underlying technology."
The US imposed sanctions against Huawei following Washington's allegations that the company cooperates with the Chinese government, steals intellectual property and poses a threat to US national security. Huawei strongly denied the accusations. And although Europe promised to take on board US concerns regarding Huawei, the Chinese tech giant continues to operate across the EU. For example, last month, Huawei opened a new AI research lab right on Facebook and Google's doorstep in London. And Norway decided not to block Huawei from taking part in developing its 5G infrastructure.