Huawei CEO: the “Galaxy S4 is just a so-so smartphone”, we will be third by 2015

June 24, 2013
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Hot on the heels of the newly announced high-end Huawei Ascend P6 smartphone, Huawei’s CEO has outlined the company’s plans for the future, which turn out to be quite optimistic.The company’s CEO Richard Yu has revealed his intent to make Huawei the third largest mobile manufacturer in the world by 2015. A bold statement perhaps, but this comes from a company which recently fantasied about acquiring Nokia, so it’s not totally out of character.

Yu stated that the company would make its way into third by focusing on quality and innovation. The aim being to produce smartphones which are better than those of Samsung and Apple, whilst selling them at a lower price point. That certainly sounds like a great idea for them and for consumers, but we’ll have to wait and see how well that plan plays out.

But Richard Yu didn’t just talk about Hauwei’s future, he also shared some of his thoughts about Samsung and Apple. In fact, the company’s CEO was keen to rile up all of the current big players; calling Samsung out for producing plastic handsets which it pushes on consumers using a huge advertising budget, stating that Apple is loosing its grip on the smartphone industry, and even calling Google’s Android operating system too complicated for consumers. Cheeky stuff, but does Richard Yu have a fair point?

The best smartphone in the past was from Nokia, then from Apple, then from Samsung. And who is number one? The industry is so dynamic – no matter how successful you are, if you’re currently number one, doesn’t mean tomorrow you’ll be number one.

Samsung, they have such huge money – if you invest in marketing and branding then people will always buy no matter how good the products are. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is just a so-so smartphone...

In its latest update, Apple makes the phone extremely simple to use. But if we are just learning from them we can’t catch up, because they are now slipping. We want to go higher than them...

We have a good relationship with Google. We want Android to be more user friendly, so we have made a lot of enhancements. Google is good for an engineer but it’s not good for the consumer. It’s a little bit too complicated.

Those sound like some strong words coming from a much smaller company, and it’s a pretty bold challenge the industry’s big players, especially if you’re reading this in the West where Huawei isn’t exactly a household name. But the company has actually been doing quite well recently and third place isn’t out of reach.

Take a look back at some of the global smartphone figures, put together by Strategy Analytics and IDC, earlier in the year and you can see that Huawei is already sitting comfortably in fourth place, right behind its rival LG.

market share table q1 2013

The important point to note from this data is that Huawei has already surpassed big names like HTC, Nokia, and Sony recently, as the company is doing very well in the Chinese high-end smartphone market. The company managed to push itself into second place last quarter, selling 8.1 million smartphones in China. However this is a highly competitive market, with LG and ZTE competing fiercely for the spots behind the industries leaders, Samsung and Apple.

So whilst third place may be attainable, maintaining it will be a more difficult task. You can be sure that Huawei isn’t the only ambitious company eyeing that third place spot, and there are a lot of strong products already on the market from HTC, Sony, and other companies which are all equally poised to capitalize on any lull in Apple or Samsung’s dominance.

What do you make of Richard Yu’s comments; unfounded overconfidence, or a piece of justified optimism?

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