Something in particular happens in the world of technology: there are many service companies that operate under a business conception aimed at the company, but that are totally unknown to the ordinary user. On the other shore, the sphere of consumption, which knocks on the doors of homes. The trademarks found there are highly recognized by the great masses of the public. But in this field the competition is very high and not all those who decide to bet on it come out of the battle victorious.
Huawei, a Chinese firm that has completed 15 years in Spain this year, bet late (2008) on consumption despite the fact that it had previously produced private label products.
But not for that reason has failed in the attempt. On the contrary, it has gone from bottom to top in a very short time, already being the second largest seller of “smartphones” in Spain and the third globally, according to data from the analysis firms Kantar and IDC. “The consumer unit is where the brand has evolved the most,” he explains to this newspaper Alvaro Galancompany marketing manager.
In 2008 the consumer unit was established. Previously, its main asset was the business of networks, data communications and telecommunications services. And two years later, in a short time, the company focused on the world of the “smartphone” at a time in which the iOS and Android operating systems had exploded. It was then that he flirts with different operators to put the workforce on white-label devices.
The move, then, came out round, but it did not take long (2012) to take a significant turn and bet on its own marketing with the support of other operators such as Yoigo and Telefónica. It is in 2013 when it makes the big leap as a result of “this brand nature that we had globally”, selling a million devices that same year in our country, one of the “main markets” at the moment. «It has been a transformation of the product and positioning of the brand»recalls in statements to this newspaper.
“Part of our global weight has been the participation of the Chinese market, as it is so huge it has a gigantic impact,” he adds for his part. Ramiro Larragan, Marketing Director of Huawei’s Consumer Business Unit, who believes that the brand’s entry into the mobile phone market “has been quite natural.” In his opinion, the firm’s effort to position itself in the competitive mobile phone business has only just begun: «We want to go from being a brand that has quality and a reasonable price to becoming a brand that is appreciated». And the task, indeed, is arduous. Currently, it is in “a repositioning exercise” that allows the company to “compete on equal terms” with other firms such as Samsung and Apple.
Challenging Chinese stigma
Huawei, however, has also had to fight against the conception of Western users that Asian products have poor quality, a stigma that the firm has had to overcome in recent years, although it believes that this vision is not very successful in these moments: «China is practically a continent, it is gigantic, and it has many levels of quality. We are at a very high level. I don’t think the perception of ‘Chinese is of low quality’ is so widespread and it doesn’t apply to us.», assures Larragan.
«The leap that Huawei has made in Spain in recent years is something very difficult to compare and match. We are talking about a company that nobody knew before at the level of consumption and, now, we are the second brand in Spain”, Larragán values this newspaper. “We have to maintain the volume terms that we support and we have to go high-end with releases that are really relevant. I believe that the vocation of brands is to become the number one brand in the market », he adds. “Huawei goes from the bottom up at a very high rate, it is the brand that new users join, that breaks the mold, the people who are non-conformists. This situation that can be guessed in the Spanish market can happen globally. In his opinion, Huawei is occupying “that space that Samsung and Apple are losing.”
The year of alliances with third parties
Huawei, at the moment, threatens other giants such as Samsung and Apple that dominate the top sales positions globally and maintains its commitment to permanence and growth for the future. Alliances with third parties have also been strengthened this year in different areas (cloud services, cybersecurity, development of 5G networks, connected cars…) in order to “strengthen a strategic part of the company. «We have begun to consolidate it this year, but it will be a basis for the future,” says Galán. “Right now we have many open frontsit is a rather curious moment because we are talking about new services that open possibilities to the smartphone world».