19 April 2018
Huawei hopes to catch up in the US smartphone market by launching products with high-end features, says Richard Yu. Photo: Wall Street Journal/f.ounders
Huawei hopes to catch up in the US smartphone market by launching products with high-end features, says Richard Yu. Photo: Wall Street Journal/f.ounders

Huawei to take aim at US market with high-end smartphones

Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co. plans to strengthen its smartphone business in the United States by launching two flagship products in that market this year.

The Shenzhen-based firm will launch a handset with virtual reality feature as part of efforts to boost its market share in the high-end segment in the US, according to Richard Yu Chengdong (余承東), chief executive of Huawei Consumer Business Group.

The new smartphone, co-developed under Google’s Daydream platform, will be launched by the year-end, he said. 

“To do better than Apple and Samsung, we must depend on more innovation and add value to the customers,” Yu said last Friday during a panel discussion in Hong Kong.

“We have fast growth in China, Europe and many other regions but we are a little behind in the US market. We will catch up,” he said at the event which was co-hosted by the Wall Street Journal

Huawei — which is now the world’s third largest smartphone maker — recently launched its P9 smartphone, which is equipped with Leica lens, gaining a crucial lead over rivals.

“As Leica has professional lens and photo technology and we have chipset and software technology, we can provide the best photo imaging experience to our users,” Yu said, adding that Huawei has developed technology that can prolong the life of cell phone batteries.

Huawei said in February that it expects to beat Apple in three years and Samsung in five years to become the world’s largest smartphone maker by sales.

The Chinese firm said it aims to boost its global market share to 25 percent by 2021 from the current level of 7.3 percent.

Huawei has seen its brand recognition in the Chinese consumer market zoom to as much as 90 percent now, from a low single-digit figure five years ago, Yu said.

Global recognition of the brand has also increased to 60 percent on average, he said.

In the first quarter of 2016, Huawei recorded 60 percent year-on-year sales growth in smartphones in China, thanks to strong growth in the high-end segment, according to Yu.

Given the economic slowdown and intensifying competition, the Chinese market will see more consolidation, the executive said.

However, Huawei has no plans, as of now, to acquire other brands, Yu said.

Commenting about rival Xiaomi, Yu said the brand was popular two years ago but it has now become quiet as the company lacks research and development capability.

“Xiaomi relies on marketing to expand but its research and development ability cannot catch up,” he said.

In other comments, Yu said that Huawei will launch strong promotional activities for its Matebook computers and smartwatches in the US market this year.

The company will also focus on e-commerce business via the Honor brand, he said. 

[Chinese version中文版]

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Chief reporter at EJ Insight

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