Author(s): Ben Wood
I've attended many Huawei device launches and a few years ago, the seemingly blind optimism of Richard Yu, the charismatic CEO of Huawei's consumer business, was infectious but sometimes comical. I've always admired his ambition, but it was hard to see how a Chinese company with a name that most Western customers struggled to pronounce would become such a force to be reckoned with. Mr Yu has proved me and many others wrong.
Huawei is going from strength to strength. It's now a solid top-three player in the smartphone market. It shipped 95 million devices in the first six months of 2018 delivering 30 percent year-on-year growth. Together with three other leading Chinese phone-makers — Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi — this new breed of manufacturers has grabbed about 40 percent of global sales volume for mobile phones, despite being unable to sell products in the strategically important US market.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei's latest Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro smartphones, in addition to the Mate 20 X and a Porsche variant, boost its already strong portfolio. Their slick design, great performance, excellent camera capabilities will undoubtedly concern large rivals such as Samsung. Other smartphone makers have already seen their share eroded by Huawei, and the trend shows no sign of abating. Huawei doesn't seem to be afraid to spend money either. There's little doubt it will commit a small fortune in marketing budget to promote these new products and other devices in its portfolio.
It's also interesting that Huawei is clearly ticking all the important boxes needed to displace rivals — and not just Android-powered competitors. The decision to offer swipe gestures and facial-recognition unlocking on the Mate 20 Pro delivers functions that would make the transition from an iPhone to a Huawei handset smoother for users. I don't believe huge numbers of iPhone owners will make that move today, but it's clear that Huawei has an eye on the future and is ready to take share from Apple if the time comes that a loyal iPhone user decides to try something else.
Today's announcements confirm Huawei's seat at the top table of smartphone makers. Now let's see how rivals respond.
For more detailed analysis of announcements from today's event see Instant Insight: Huawei Heaps Pressure on Smartphone Rivals with Mate 20 Series.