Huawei is a huge electronics giant that operates out of China and has very quickly become the third largest phone manufacturer in 2015 shipping over 106 million devices. They have had trouble making inroads to the US because of our government’s perceived threats of espionage by China’s government, but much of the tension has died down recently. Huawei is investing and expanding in Canada, but in the US they were mostly providing low-end, prepaid devices. Much of that changed in 2015 with their well-received Mate 8 flagship phablet and their beautiful Android Wear powered Huawei smartwatch. The highest recognition came when Google tapped them to manufacture the high-end Nexus 6P smartphone – it was a huge commercial success and made Huawei a household name in the mobile wireless field.
This foothold in the US is about to get stronger as they announced they are opening a R&D Center in the heart of Bellevue, Washington as early as next month. Huawei said that it would initially hire 100 employees by the end of 2017 and already has 30 LinkedIn postings for those jobs, along with 40 employees already working for Huawei in the Seattle region. James Henderson, economic development director for the City of Bellevue, in an email said, “The city is excited Huawei has chosen Bellevue as the site for their new R&D center. The decision to locate to Bellevue reinforces our image as a growing technology and innovation center.” While Huawei is the latest out-of-town tech firm to open up in the Seattle area, it is becoming a real hotspot for tech companies – Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Uber, Expedia and T-Mobile also have offices located there and hire many people.
Their location sets them squarely in Microsoft’s and Amazon’s lap and there is speculation that Huawei may benefit from those relationships. At MWC this year, Huawei released a Surface Pro and iPad Pro competitor that was running Windows 10, so cozying up to Microsoft can only help. Huawei will certainly keep their eyes on Amazon’s global distribution practices in their quest to conquer the smartphone world. According to Huawei executives, they plan to surpass Apple in 2-to-3 years with a goal to surpass Samsung by 2021 to make them the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.