Manufacturing News

Huawei adjusts strategy to build consumer brand

Huawei, one of the world's leading telecommunications equipment and solutions providers, is adjusting its strategy to build its consumer brand.

The booth of the company at the ongoing CommunicAsia in Singapore featured an open space this year to showcase the best of its consumer products and corporate solutions, including dongles, tablets and the world's slimmest smart phone Asend P1S.

It was different from the days when it used to be almost invisible to people outside the telecommunications industry as it dealt mainly with carriers.

This reflects Huawei's efforts to adjust its strategy and extend the reach of its innovative offerings from the telecom carrier network field to the enterprise and consumer fields, said Zhou Bin, managing director of Huawei Singapore.

Its technicians and senior managers were also at the booth to help the visitors who want to experience the products. Many were fascinated by the state-of-the-art devices such as the recently unveiled Asend series of smart phones, including the four-core Ascend D Quad and the thin Ascend P1S.

The innovation-driven company showed its strength with its capabilities across different fields such as telecom network equipment, corporate solutions and smart devices.

"We are now putting more emphasis on the end user experience," Zhou said at a recent press briefing upon his appointment as the head of Huawei Singapore.

It is new, too, for Huawei's newly appointed senior managers to meet the reporters at a press briefing. Some of its senior managers and public relations staff are foreign internationals working at its headquarters in Shenzhen, China.

The senior managers and technicians are also adapting to the strategic changes, with many of them delivering speeches and answering questions in English at conferences and seminars.

Nevertheless, the company has yet to build an image as a fashionable chic brand.

The Asend series could be a turning point in the company's efforts to market itself as a consumer brand. Its commercials have started to be aired recently at the prime times on some of the most popular television channels on the Chinese mainland.

A senior executive of the company said that the company is trying to showcase its brand devices such as smart phones. It has a budget of over $200 million this year for marketing its devices and has hired two global public relations firms.

The company, which has grown rapidly over the past two decades to be the number two in telecom equipment market, tried to make adjustments to its strategies in order to find new growth drivers.

Its low profile in the past has been part of the explanation for the challenges in cracking the nut in the North American market. Some of the critics, including lawmakers, have questioned the company on its background, particularly the fact that its founder Ren Zhengfei has served in the Chinese military before retiring and founding the high-tech firm in 1987.

The company, which is 100 percent owned by its employees, has dismissed allegations that it is in any way linked to the army.

Scott Sykes, the vice president of corporate media affairs who joined Huawei in recent years, said Huawei is a company which is a private global high-tech firm from China -- which is something new to many in the United States.

There has never been anything like this in the United States, and it will eventually be accepted, but "we just need a bit more time," he said.

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