Huawei is the 4th largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, mostly on the strength of their sales in the Chinese market, where they are number three after Xiaomi and Apple. Somehow, in spite of efforts, they have not been able to replicate the success they’ve had in the most populous country in the world, elsewhere. But now, with competition rising ever more in their own backyard, the OEMs have started to feel the heat with shrinking margins, and with the Chinese market almost having reached a saturation point, most of the Chinese vendors are now looking for greener pastures elsewhere and big volume – big margin markets like the US would naturally be at the top of anybody’s agenda. The US market however, is a hard one to break into for a new OEM. It is dominated almost entirely by the carriers, and OEMs have little say in matters of installed software and features, nor do they have the pricing power that they do in many other markets, where unlocked devices, rather than locked, carrier subsidized ones are the norm.
But trust the President of Huawei’s US devices unit, Mr. Zhiqiang Xu, to see the glass as half-full. In an interview with Greenbot, he speaks about his belief that the quality of their products will help them eventually break into the top three in this highly competitive market, presumably, alongside Apple and Samsung. He sets himself a five year timespan in which to achieve his goal. Having only recently released the P8 and the gigantic P8max to largely positive reviews, his confidence seems to be brimming over. Especially with the current trend initiated by T-Mobile where they are trying to move away from the subsidy regimen, meaning more people can eventually move away from lengthy contracts that come with subsidized handsets. That will allow OEMs like Huawei more freedom about hardware and software choices, as well as product positioning.
“Currently, we’re working with AT&T and Sprint. We’re working with Verizon as well, but not with phones. T-Mobile, we work with a lot, too. These four carriers are going to be our main focus”, says Mr. Xu. He goes on to say that he is hopeful that the quality of Huawei products along with “attractive pricing” will help him achieve his rather lofty targets. He even says, that he plans to offer a full two year “special warranty” to US customers for all his phones with a view to giving them “the peace of mind”. He also reveals that Huawei has already started investing heavily in the US and planning to launch their “flagship phones like the M7 and P7”. He acknowledges that some strategic mistakes have been made in the past and that he realizes that some more might happen when you’re trying to expand rapidly in hitherto unexplored territories, but he’s also confident that “if we keep making good products, I think we’ll improve year by year to get there”.