ONE of Basingstoke biggest employers is set to move its headquarters out of town next year - taking more than 400 jobs out of the borough.
Hundred of staff at Huawei's offices in Jays Close, Viables, and Faraday Office Park, Daneshill, are to relocate to new offices in Reading next April.
The move is part of the global information and communications technology company's £1.3billion investment programme in the UK, in which it will increase its workforce to 1,500 in the next five years.
The company is leaving Basingstoke because it was unable to find a “suitable” site in the area in which to expand and to accommodate its entire workforce under one roof.
The company's UK headquarters has been in Basingstoke since 2003, but last year Huawei began searching for a new base which would be suitable to hold more employees.
Ed Brewster, spokesman for Huawei, said: “We are very sorry to be leaving Basingstoke and we are very proud of the 10 year relationship with the town.
“Many of our employees continue to live in the area and so our connection with the town will remain strong, but unfortunately we were unable to find a suitable location.”
Mr Brewster told The Gazette that consultation with staff in Basingstoke about the move will now begin, and will run until next March.
Tony Curtis, chief executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, said the local authority had “maintained dialogue” with Huawei while it considered its options for its future.
He added: “While we were keen to keep Huawei in the borough, we recognise that the company made a commercial decision based on the need to be located in the Thames Valley area, in the telecommunications cluster.
“Huawei's departure does not cause significant redundancies in the borough, with the majority of the company's workforce employed directly from China and other colleagues able to travel to their new premises.”
Mr Curtis said the despite the news of Huawei pulling out of the town, Basingstoke “remains buoyant in these difficult economic times.”
He added: “Job losses remain comparatively low and the borough continues to see economic successes with local companies.”
Wednesday's Huawei announcement overshadowed the news earlier this week that the Government is investing £4.3million to revamp the Black Dam Roundabout to secure future jobs in Basingstoke.
Huawei has signed an agreement with Oxford Properties to move to a 140,00sq ft building in Green Park, Reading.
The deal will give Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of the OMERS Worldwide group of companies, full control of the asset.
Victor Zhang, CEO of Huawei Technologies UK, said: “This move marks the beginning of an exciting new period of development for Huawei in the UK.
“We opened our first office here in 2001 and the decision to move to a new headquarters reinforces our long- term commitment to the UK.
“Green Park is at the heart of the Britain's communications and technology industry, is well located for some of our major customers, has excellent transport links and is the right location for us as we continue our UK expansion.
“The new HQ offers the space to accommodate up to 1,000 people as our business here continues to grow in the coming years.”