Huawei CEO: We’ll be number one smartphone vendor in five years

Huawei CEO: We’ll be number one smartphone vendor in five years

In November, Huawei launched its latest flagship device at a global launch event in Munich. The Huawei Mate 9 and the Porsche Design Mate 9 are the latest devices to showcase Huawei’s unique decision to partner with other industry leaders in a move that CEO of the Consumer BG, Richard Yu tells IDG Connect will “allow [Huawei] to deliver meaningful innovation”.

At the beginning of April last year, the Chinese company launched the P9 – a device that marked the beginning of its “strategic partnership” with camera heavyweight Leica. At the time, Oliver Kaltner, CEO of Leica Camera AG said: “The strategic alliance between Huawei and Leica Camera demonstrates the desire of two rapidly growing and globally active brands to continuously push the envelope of the technologically possible.”

According to IDC data, Huawei holds the third position in the worldwide smartphone market with a 9.3% share in 2016Q2, behind Samsung in first with 22.8% and Apple in second with 11.7%. But the Chinese company is aiming higher; “We have a clear goal to be the number two smartphone vendor globally by 2018 and the number one vendor by 2021,” Yu says. And it looks to be on track. Preliminary third quarter results show Huawei’s shipments outside of its home country have grown drastically, with China now representing 53% of shipments compared to 60% last year. IDC suggests that the P8 and P9 family are helping the Chinese company boost sales in Europe, “where it is taking away share from Samsung and Apple with competitive specs at lower price points”.

IDC: Smartphone Vendor Market Share Chart

And thanks to Samsung’s disastrous Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Huawei might just have a chance at the top spot. As Simon Blackwell, Head of Product Adoption at Adam Phones, says, “Thanks to Samsung, Huawei doesn’t need Porsche Design to help boost phone sales. Whilst previously Huawei has, on the most part, been viewed as an outsider in terms of overall quality, almost overnight the company may have found a new potential audience: Samsung Note buyers.”

But Huawei did partner with Porsche Design, so we asked Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei, about the company’s “strategic partnerships”, and whether he thinks they’re enough to push the Chinese smartphone manufacturer to the top spot.


Why did Huawei decided to partner with both Porsche Design and Leica?

We are focused delivering meaningful innovation for everyone. We do this sometimes on our own, through our own obsession with engineering, and sometimes through co-creative partnerships. Understanding the best experiences in the world, and partnering with the people who deliver those experiences to bring it to the smartphone form factor. Partnerships like those with Leica and Porsche Design are an illustration of us empowering and enriching consumers lives with meaningful innovation.

How does this put Huawei ahead of the competition?

These partnerships allow us to deliver meaningful innovation. In the case of Leica delivering the best smartphone camera in the world. And we know that camera capability is a major consideration for smartphone users. In the case of PD delivering the most beautiful and most capable smartphone in the world for a very high-end customer.

Will Huawei’s partnerships push it ahead in the smartphone market?

We believe so – yes. With all our strategic partners our objective is to continue enhancing the experience for our customers.

What do you think the key mobile trends of 2017 will be?

When it comes to the major trends in 2017, you might be forgiven for thinking we’re in for more of the same, especially with talk of personalisation and voice control. Yet what may seem familiar is actually more sophisticated than ever before.

Personalisation isn’t simply about apps and widgets any more, on-device machine learning to anticipate your needs based on your usage patterns will become mainstream. The more it gets to know you, the more intuitive it becomes.

Similarly, Contextualisation will configure the phone’s functionality depending on circumstance. Are you at work, home, or travelling? Alerts, notifications and other responses will adapt automatically to your whereabouts, which is certainly a step up from ring, buzz and silent mode.

As for Voice Control, the performance of both the CPU and system software in devices today will allow for greatly improved accuracy and the capacity to interpret and execute complex spoken commands. Rapid and refined, Natural Language Processing is a compelling feature that will go far beyond basic Q and A requests.

It’s still on the horizon, but 5G trials are a reality and when these network speeds of 1Gb/s go mainstream, we’ll experience seamless connectivity with the Cloud. This combination of capacity and connectivity will transform the capabilities of mobile devices.

Powering all of this, literally, is the device battery. It’s all too easy to overlook but it remains a necessity and innovative battery technology will be a key differentiator on mobile devices. For those with the very latest handsets, supercharge capabilities that safely deliver a day’s charge in half an hour will be keeping battery anxiety at bay in 2017.

How does Huawei see the next five years panning out in terms of business growth and innovation?

We have a clear goal to be the number two smartphone vendor globally by 2018 and the number one vendor by 2021. We will achieve this through continuing to deliver meaningful innovation to every key segment and market. As well as growing our brand strength and footprint across every key country.



Also read:
“No explosion”: Richard Yu announces Huawei Mate 9
A week with the Huawei P9: A camera with a phone
Huawei launch reactions: Will Huawei’s ‘full scale assault’ be enough?
Huawei Launch: #OO look, the new P9


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Kate Hoy

Kate Hoy is Editor of IDG Connect

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