Huawei Plans Entry into U.S. Smartphone Market

by Matt Klassen on December 18, 2015

huawei_USThey say time heals all wounds, but for Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the hope is that time also leads to significant amounts of forgetfulness as well. You see, Huawei, the third largest smartphone company in the world, has dominated everywhere in the world, except for the in the United States, where over the last several years or so it has been vilified as a communist spy, targeted as a front for foreign espionage, and shunned because of perceived security concerns.

But now, several years later, Huawei is trying once again to enter the saturated American smartphone market, announcing the impending release of its flagship Mate 8 smartphone in 2016.

The hope is, of course, that most people have forgotten the bad press, the witch-hunts, and the veritable tar and feathering that went on through 2012 and 2013, and that consumers will be able to see the Mate 8 (and the cheaper Honor 5X) as worthy competitors to Apple and Samsung’s respective flagship devices, comparing the phones on merit, and not what country the company behind the phones hails from.

As mentioned, Huawei stands as the world’s third-largest smartphone maker based on shipments, behind only Samsung and Apple in volume. But Huawei has managed to accomplish that with almost no presence in the U.S. mobile market, again due to the vilification of Chinese telecom firms that happened several years ago. The Chinese firm announced this week that it plans to showcase its flagship device at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early in the New Year, in hopes of establishing itself as a competitor in the high-end smartphone market.

“We have already seized a leading position in the Chinese [smartphone] market. We hope that in the U.S. we can achieve the same success,” Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu said in a recent interview.

The vilification of Huawei began in 2012 with a damning Congressional report that recommended avoiding Huawei’s telecom hardware because of fears that the company was operating as a front for the Chinese government, and had built in back-doors the communist regime could use to spy on America’s industrial complex. While the accusations were largely unfounded (at least to the public) and vehemently denied by Huawei, the company found itself all but shut out from the U.S. market, one of the few global telecom leaders that American consumers had no idea about

But that didn’t stop Huawei from attempting the impossible, as the company invested heavily in improving its image and dedicated a research and development team to identifying U.S. consumer preferences and requirements, and working to meet those specifically.

While Huawei has been able to have a small footprint in the budget smartphone market in the U.S., the introducing of the Mate 8 is a sign the company believes the American market is ready to love again, having forgotten all that nasty business about espionage, spies, and whatnot.

Although analysts firmly believe that for Huawei to firmly establish itself as a global smartphone brand that entry into the U.S. market is critical, the fact of the matter is that it won’t be easy, as Apple and Samsung clearly dominate, with the remainder of the pie spread across a multitude of smaller brands, meaning that unless Huawei can generate significant market hype, even if customers forget how Huawei has been characterized as in the past, it won’t be easy to gain any traction.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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