Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu called the company's failed smartphone retail deal with AT&T "a big loss" for consumers during his Tuesday speech held at the latest iteration of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference that was focused on the stateside launch of the Mate 10 lineup of Android flagships ended with an improvised speech from Mr. Yu that saw him get emotional on stage while ignoring the teleprompter he used until that point, talking about the company's unsuccessful attempt to get its latest high-end smartphone into the hands of more America people. The deal with AT&T has been in the making for at least a year but ended up falling through just several days back amid reports that the second largest wireless carrier in the United States faced political pressure to not provide the Chinese tech giant with a major entry point into the domestic market.
The industry veteran reiterated some of his points about the Mate 10 series, claiming that the firm's newest Android devices are the best of what the phone market has to offer yet won't be retailed by any carrier in the country, thus confirming the unsuccessful outcome of its effort to negotiate a deal with AT&T. The Chinese original equipment manufacturer will now have to rethink its global expansion plans and Mr. Yu confirmed as much, adding that the Mate 10 will still be retailed by non-carrier distributors which statistically sell only a fraction of smartphones moved by U.S. mobile service providers.
Huawei has been scrutinized by the U.S. government since at least 2012 and Washington isn't the only one that effectively blacklisted its products in the West, primarily due to the company's ties with Beijing but also because of various allegations and cases of intellectual property theft. A number of industry watchers in the West criticized Mr. Yu's decision to label Huawei's inability to enter the U.S. market as a loss for consumers given how China's protectionist economic policy is much more aggressive in its attempts to prevent foreign players from competing in the Far Eastern country. As that approach directly benefitted Huawei's domestic position in the past, not everyone is supportive of the company's decision to publicly complain about being on the receiving end of a similar practice.