China’s Huawei on offensive in Japan smartphone market

May 04, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Huawei Technologies Co., China’s largest smartphone manufacturer, is focusing on the Japanese market as a testing ground to refine its technologies.

“China, Europe and Japan are important markets,” Shao Yang, an official in charge of marketing smartphones and other terminals, said in Shenzhen, China, where Huawei is based.

Huawei wants to secure volume sales in its home country while addressing multilingual requirements in Europe.

The company plans to accumulate technologies in Japan, whose consumers are particularly demanding on handset performances and functions. Huawei hopes that technological improvements made in Japan will help it better compete around the world.

Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea dominates global smartphone shipments, followed by Apple Inc.

Huawei is competing for a third spot with a number of companies, including LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea, China’s ZTE Corp. and Sony Corp.

Given its poor brand recognition, Huawei is still a low-ranked smartphone supplier in Japan.

But the company in March released a new product, unveiled at a European trade fair, in Japan ahead of other countries.

It set up one of the largest booths at a trade show in Tokyo in October despite mounting tensions between the two countries after Japan put some of the Senkaku Islands, claimed by China, under state ownership the previous month.

By working with Japanese cellphone carriers, Huawei plans to acquire technologies, such as those on the LTE high-speed wireless communication standard, in which Japan is among global leaders.

The company also intends to procure more Japanese-made smartphone components.

The relative importance of Japan and Europe has grown because the United States, a huge smartphone market, is moving to exclude Chinese telecommunications equipment suppliers over national security concerns.

Huawei sells telecommunications equipment in more than 140 countries, deriving 70 percent of sales from outside China.

Sales in 2012 reached 220 billion yuan (3.5 trillion yen, or $35 billion), putting the company on par with Sweden’s Ericsson, the world’s largest telecoms gear maker.

(This article was written by Keiko Yoshioka in Shenzhen and Tokuhiko Saito in Beijing.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Shao Yang speaks about Huawei Technologies Co.’s smartphone business in Shenzhen, China. (Keiko Yoshioka)

Shao Yang speaks about Huawei Technologies Co.’s smartphone business in Shenzhen, China. (Keiko Yoshioka)

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  • Shao Yang speaks about Huawei Technologies Co.’s smartphone business in Shenzhen, China. (Keiko Yoshioka)

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