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Huawei boosts photonic integration know-how with CIP acquisition

27 January 2012
Huawei has acquired UK photonic integration specialist, the Centre for Integrated Photonics (CIP), from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) for an undisclosed fee. The acquisition of what was once BT's fibre-optics group, gains the Chinese system vendor a wealth of optical component expertise as well as participation in several leading European Union R&D projects.
 "By acquiring CIP and integrating the company’s R&D team into Huawei’s own research team, Huawei’s optical R&D capabilities can be significantly enhanced," said Peter Wharton, CIP’s chief executive.
Trading at CIP Technologies, the company combines indium-phosphide with planar lightwave circuit (PLC) technology to create its HyBoard hybrid integration platform. HyBoard allows actives to be added to a silica-on-silicon motherboard to create complex integrated optical systems. 
CIP has been using its photonic integration expertise to develop compact, more cost-effective WDM-PON optical line terminal (OLT) and optical network unit (ONU) designs, including an integrated transmitter array.
CIP employs 50 staff, with 70% of its work coming from the telecom and datacom sectors. About a third of its revenues are from advanced products and two thirds from technical services. 
Wharton says all current projects for its customers will be carried out as planned, but in future CIP’s main research and development service will be focused on Huawei’s business priorities.  "We expect all contracted projects to be completed and current customers are being assisted to find alternate sources of supply," he said.
CIP is also part of several EU Seventh Framework programme R&D projects. These include BIANCHO, a project to significantly reduce the power consumption of optical components and systems, and 3CPO, which is developing colourless and coolerless optical components for low-power optical networks.
Huawei's acquisition will not affect CIP's continuing participation in such projects. "For EU framework and other collaborative R&D projects, the ultimate share ownership does not matter so long as it is a research organisation based in Europe, which CIP will continue to be," said Wharton. 
CIP said it had received interest from several potential acquirers, but that the company favoured Huawei’s bid. 
By Roy Rubenstein
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