China’s Huawei Technologies has no small goals in mind when it comes to the world of smartphones. It seems the company has set its sights on the big dogs of the smartphone yard – Samsung and Apple. According to a senior executive at the company, Huawei aims in the next five years to be the world’s largest smartphone maker with a market share of over 25 percent.
“We want to be the number-one smartphone maker in the world. It’s a long distance race, and we have the patience,” said Huawei director Richard Yu, who heads the company’s consumer electronics business, at the Converge technology conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal and founders in Hong Kong.
These comments come as the company is closing the gap between it and Apple and Samsung. For these companies, growth has been slowing. Huawei, however, has seen explosive growth in the last few years. In the first quarter of this year alone, Huawei saw a volume increase of 59 percent over the previous year, while Apple’s sales declined by 14 percent. Overall, Huawei has now increased its market share to 8.3 percent, behind Apple’s 15 percent and Samsung’s 23 percent market share.
While increasing its share, the company continues to focus on more high end products as well, such as the latest phone, the P9, which includes dual lens cameras. “Our growth is mainly coming from the high-end, premium segment,” Mr. Yu said. “If you want to be the leading vendor you have to lead in the high-end.”
So far, the company has seen its biggest success with its smartphones in markets overseas. The phone has been a hit not only in China, but in the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of the world. Huawei still has a long way to go in the United States, however. Currently they have only a minimal presence in the states.
The company also continues to focus on other technologies as well, including virtual reality based on its partnership with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which provides VR software platforms. The company plans on releasing a VR compatible smartphone this fall.
The company has also been increasing its patent portfolio as well, investing billions of dollars so it can better compete with Samsung and Apple. Last year the company spent a staggering $9.2 billion on research and development, besting Apple’s $8.1 billion but still below Samsung’s ever impressive $12.5 billion.
It seems the goals of Huawei are pretty lofty, but with the volatility and changing market of smartphones anything is possible. It seems they are taking all the necessary steps to go from a small smartphone player to one of the leaders in the category. If fortunes remain the same, we could be seeing a new leader in the smartphone market sooner rather than later. But we will have to wait and see.
What do you think? Do you think this Chinese company is positioning itself to be a serious contender to Apple and Samsung? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.