Huawei really really wants to become #1 or at least #2 smartphone maker in the world. And they have a plan to do it.
Step #1 in Huawei’s smartphone market domination plan – create high quality highly desirable products that people will happily pay top dollar for.
They started implementing this plan with the launch of Huawei Ascend P6 all metallic smartphone. Huawei had a big launch event of the new phone in London, where they’ve brought in the press from all around the world. And they priced it accordingly – at 449 Euro – up there with in the range of competing flagships. Or at least tried to.
It seems that Huawei themselves do not believe they can get away charging a modern flagship price for the device with essentially last year’s specs, just because it’s extremely thin and has metallic body. So for now they went for perception game.
When every other OEM announcing a new product and giving recommended retail price, uses every trick he knows to show the lowest price possible, Huawei does the opposite.
They announce an eye popping 449 Eur retail price to create a perception of high-end device, then quietly begin offering P6 to customers for 30% less in China and the rest of the world. Putting it firmly into the mid-tier category.
Somehow, I doubt that this strategy is going to work.
Then there’s #2 step in Huawei’s world domination plan. Start badmouthing the competition, claiming how much more innovative you are and promising huge sales. This is what Huawei CEO has been doing ever since Ascend P6 launched. Claiming that they have already leapfrogged Samsung and Apple by at least a year, promising to sell 10 million Ascend P6s.
On Sunday, in an interview with U.K.’s Telegraph, Huawei CEO went even further, calling Galaxy S4 “… just a so so smartphone” and claiming that Samsung owes its dominant position mainly to the huge marketing spend. He’s also sure that Apple is now slipping and that Huawei should soon be able to displace them
It’s kinda amusing see Huawei’s big words and promises before Ascend P6 even reached its first customer. Their new flagship is a solid mid-tier handset, but not much more than that. It might sell well, and it might improve Huawei’s image in the west a bit, but P6 is certainly not on the level of HTC One to singlehandedly vault them to the next level among smartphone OEMs.
Overall, Huawei’s mid summer coming out party reminds me a bit of their big event during Mobile World Congress 2012. Back then Huawei also had a big new phone ready to take over the world – Ascend D Quad. And promised to sell 60 million smartphones in 2012. When results came in in early 2013, it turned out they managed to sell only half of that and their big flagship was a total bust.
Still, despite the thwarted ambitions of 2012, Huawei managed to become a #3 smartphone OEM at least for Q1 2013. Which is quite a feat. And, while still not up to par against Apple or Samsung, their smartphone portfolio this year looks much more balanced and thought out. Give them a year or two more and today’s smartphone leaders may have one serious challenger by 2015.