Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 28th 2016 Contents JANUARY 28 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
While punters rolled
the dice downstairs
at the cavernous
Caesar s Palace Hotel
in Las Vegas, Jerry
Huang was upstairs
in one of the huge, countless conference rooms
at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held
earlier this month.
Huang, Huawei s Mexico-based director of
marketing, was talking of a seemingly safer
bet on changing the company s fortunes.
Fuelled by large sales of handsets in China,
its native market, Huawei has leapt to third
among handset manufacturers worldwide,
with a market share exceeded only by Apple,
makers of the iPhone at number two, and
Samsung at number one.
Figures vary according to which market
research firm is providing them, and the often
fuzzy, interchangeable and loosely applied dis-
tinctions between phones and smartphones.
However, there s no question about which
firms make up the big three. Fourth-quarter
figures from market research firm GfK show
that Huawei s share of the mobile phone mar-
ket today stands at 9.7 per cent, American
technology giant Apple is within touching dis-
tance at 11 per cent and South Korea s Samsung
remains far ahead of the pack at 20 per cent.
Huawei, though, showed the biggest growth,
7.9 per cent.
Despite seeing an erosion in its market share
for smartphones from 28 per cent to 25 per
cent, Samsung still dominates the sector. Its
Galaxy Edge phones provided attractive dis-
tinctiveness in a market in which it is increas-
ingly hard to differentiate. The Edge, its close
relative the Galaxy S6 and the corporate-ori-
entated Galaxy Note 5 all sold well, and tended
in the main to get favourable reviews from the
Jerry Huang concedes that Huawei can t
catch Samsung, at least anytime soon, but the
iPhone is firmly in its sights.
"We want to become the number two
smartphone manufacturer in two years, and
we have the confidence to get there," Huang
"Right now the market-share gap between
Huawei and Apple is not that big."
"To be a top tier smartphone manufacturer,
you have to get a solid market share of 10 per
cent, or even grow up to 15 per cent," Huang
Huawei had its best ever year last year, ship-
ping 108 million handsets worldwide. Revenue
was US$20 billion.
Latin America and
Huawei, founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei,
a former military officer, has moved a long
way from its roots, creating a large, increasingly
assured global footprint.
Latin America, and to a lesser extent the
Caribbean, is an important part of its push
for greater market share. Latin America is the
second largest region for Huawei by sales vol-
ume after China. Huawei sold 12 million phones
in the region last year, and is the number one
handset in the Costa Rica market.
"This market has become the most impor-
tant for Huawei already," claims Huang.
"Looking to the future, we think there are
lots of opportunities for us to further develop
The company has a presence in T&T through
its partner bmobile, and has quietly, outside
of its handset business, built a significant
amount of telecommunications architecture
Huawei, like Apple and Samsung, is targeting
the premium phone sector, although Huawei
phones, including Nexus 6p which it manu-
factured for Google, tend to sell 20 to 30 per
cent cheaper than iPhones and Galaxy hand-
It intends to go after young people "who
live in the Internet like ecommerce and social
networking," said Huang.
Huawei has some way to go to catch Apple
with its nascent pay service, in a segment of
the market---cardless commerce using mobile
phones---that analysts say looks poised for
"We want to build our brand in the Latin
America region, and will continue with a
localised marketing strategy," Huang said.
Three years ago Huawei brand awareness
was three per cent---only three per cent of
customers recognised the brand.
The Latin American strategy would see
Huawei recruiting popular sporting icons like
James Rodrigues of Colombia and Real Madrid,
and Alexis Sanchez of Chile and Arsenal Foot-
The phone launched at the Consumer Elec-
tronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was the metal
encased Mate 8, a phablet-sized 5.7 inch hand-
set that s in the market space occupied by the
larger Apple device, the iPhone 6s Plus, and
the Galaxy Note 5.
It first launched in China in November, and
the company has already shipped a million
units. Its predecessor---the Mate 7---also sold
well, seven million units.
Despite the increasing competition among
smartphone manufacturers, Samsung, as it
did last year at CES in Las Vegas, maintained
a focus on The Internet of Things, a look at
other technology such as smart homes. The
showpiece was a computerised smart fridge
that took the hassle out of food shopping. The
South Korean firm is expected to debut its
newest handsets, the successors to the Galaxy
6S and the Galaxy Edge range of phones, at
the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in
As smartphone manufacturers operate on
an ever tighter development cycles, Apple is
expected to respond in June, at it s Worldwide
Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Fran-
cisco, with upgrades to the iPhone 6s and 6S
The Huawei Mate 8 hits the market in T&T
and the rest of the region in early March.
Look out for reviews in the Guardian by
technology journalist Mark Lyndersay, of
the handsets from Samsung and Huawei
in the coming weeks and months.
Huawei's Latin America push
to challenge global big two
ABOVE: The Huawei Mate 8 hits the market in T&T in
RIGHT: Visitors at the Huawei booth during CES
International, on Friday, January 8, 2016, in Las
Huawei's director of marketing
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