Huawei to boost its smartphone brand via new retail, online push

Third biggest maker of smartphones to adopt direct marketing to reach more customers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 1:15am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 1:15am

Huawei, the third biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world, said it would increase its brand awareness by directly targeting its expanding pool of customers through retail and online selling and co-operation with other carriers.

"There are different ways to build a brand," said Shao Yang, vice-president of marketing for Huawei's consumer business group. "We will adopt measures not that new to the market but new to Huawei."

In China the smartphone business for Huawei will have stable growth [although] it won’t jump

The promotional measures include advertising and sponsoring sports and musical events, Shao said at the Huawei global analyst summit yesterday in Shenzhen.

Shao said the China market will be the focus of the company's efforts in 2014, mainly because of the launch of 4G networks on the mainland. The company trails only Samsung and Apple as a leading producer of smartphones. It plans to manufacture 80 million smartphones this year, having shipped 52 million units in 2013.

There are highly diversified smartphone brands in the China market, Shao said, and competition is intense. "I'm confident that in China the smartphone business for Huawei will have stable growth [although] it won't jump," Shao said. He also said Huawei had achieved a lot in raising its brand awareness in the past couple of years, adding that in China the awareness of the brand reached 68 per cent in 2013, compared with 32 per cent 18 months ago.

Hong Kong will not immediately be a key market for Huawei. "The Hong Kong market is quite opposite to that of Europe," he said. "Europe is a stable market. It will be hard for us to get our brand sold in the Hong Kong market, so it could be our next step strategy, but not the first step."

Huawei said it is helping traditional telecommunications carriers to transform, as their voice and short message services face a severe challenge from internet products like Tencent's WeChat.

"The competition between traditional carriers and internet vendors continuously impacts the [business]," the company said.

Jack Zhang Shoujie, general manager of data centre integration services, said cloud data centres will be vital for Huawei. He said by September 2013, Huawei supported over 330 data centre projects, serving 78 carriers in 45 countries.

"About half of our revenue in the data centre industry comes from carriers, the other half from enterprises."