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Huawei to build brand to beat smartphone rivals

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Published : 2014-04-24 20:52
Updated : 2014-04-24 20:52

SHENZHEN ― China’s Huawei Technologies, the world’s second-biggest telecommunications equipment maker, plans to groom its brand to boost its global smartphone sales.

“What we need is to build our brand and credibility because Huawei’s smartphone business is still in a very early stage,” Shao Yang, vice president of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, said Wednesday at the Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2014 in Shenzhen.

The company plans to spend $300 million on global marketing in 2014, Shao told Reuters in an interview published Wednesday.

This way, the company expects to improve brand awareness by 30 percent and brand recognition by up to 58 percent. 
Andrew Connell, chief marketing officer of Huawei Technologies, displays an Ascend G6 smartphone at a news conference ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. (Bloomberg)

So far, Huawei said it was content with its smartphone performance.

The company has become the global No. 3 handset provider by shipment in just three years since it started the business. It sold 52 million units in 2013, up 60 percent from the previous year.

Huawei will aim to become a “lovable” and “customer-centric” brand, Huawei’s chief executive Eric Xu said at the conference.

“Instead of engaging in advertisement campaign, we will rely on word of mouth to beat global device makers.”

These will most certainly include top makers such as Samsung Electronics and Apple, industry watchers said.

In Korea’s smartphone market where local brands have over 90 percent of the market share, Huawei’s smartphones were unofficially sold a year ago. It was not successful due to the nation’s strong local brands and Huawei’s low brand recognition in the local market.

“Korea’s market is tough and high-end. It is very difficult for foreign brands to penetrate because of its local features such as mobile TV and mobile payment,” said Jerry Huang, director of marketing communication.

“Still, we are open to the market. It is important for us to have a good relationship with its local carriers,” he added.

“After gaining some brand recognition through consistent business in carrier and enterprise markets, Huawei will tap into the local smartphone markets,” a source said.

Huawei has been providing carrier equipment for the nation’s three telecom operators, SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus. It has also expanded into the enterprise markets such as servers, storage and networks.

Richard Yu, Huawei’s CEO in charge of consumer electronics, said Korea was the “last market,” when asked about Huawei’s plan to tap into Korea’s smartphone market at the Mobile World Congress in February.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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