Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer electronics business, on Wednesday, vowed the company will continue its aggressive international expansion, still eyeing the title of the world’s largest smartphone vendor.
The firm’s main mobile sub-brand Honor will likewise be maintaining its focus on the upper part of the mid-range price bracket, arguably the most competitive handset category there is. While Huawei is looking to overtake Samsung after already doing the same to Apple last year, Honor’s medium-term plans aren’t much less ambitious either, with the firm still looking to seize the title of the fourth-biggest smartphone manufacturer in terms of both shipments and sales.
Arguably the most surprising part of Mr. Yu’s Wednesday announcement is the belief the company will already overtake Samsung this year when accounting for Honor’s sales as well. While the industry veteran provided little details on the matter and Huawei certainly managed to reach rather impressive growth rates in recent years, most industry watchers label that target as highly optimistic, to put it mildly. There are nearly a hundred million smartphones standing between Samsung and Huawei right now, which almost certainly isn’t a difference that can be eliminated within twelve months, particularly given the current state of the mobile industry.
Namely, as smartphone shipments have been on a slight decline for several quarters now and consumers in most major markets signaled they aren’t interested in upgrading their handsets as frequently as they used to, Huawei doesn’t have many new growth opportunities to seek on its quest of becoming the most successful mobile firm on the planet and that goes without even reflecting on the world of hurt it’s presently expecting in the United States.
The world’s number-one flagship market and the key to the most meaningful profit margins in the industry has no intention of letting Huawei operate stateside, at least not in a way that would allow it to come anywhere close the level of competitiveness that’s largely responsible for its recent commercial triumphs in other parts of the globe. The U.S. government’s main issue with Huawei pertains to the Chinese firm’s wireless business, i.e. the potential security threat it will pose if it ends up providing 5G connectivity to many allies of Washington.
Regardless, even if one was to account for every single Honor sale in 2018, add it to what Huawei is estimated to have sold, and compare that to how Samsung did over the same period, the Shenzen-based company remains at approximately two-thirds of larger rival’s commercial output.
The task of overtaking Samsung in the near future appears even more impossible in light of Huawei‘s current strategy that saw the firm completely do away with low-end devices, the type of gadgets that are nearly irrelevant in terms of profits but can do wonders when it comes to pumping one’s device shipments over any particular period. After all, entry-level Android smartphones played a major role in Samsung’s rise to the top of the global handset charts in the first place, though the South Korean firm’s performance is now much more sustainable, i.e. diversified.