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The first HUAWEI store outside China will open in Austria this summer
At a news conference today, Huawei announced it will open its very first European store in Vienna this summer (via Reuters). The HUAWEI Austria shop will be the first store from the company to open outside of its native China.
There are three major Austrian wireless carriers: A1 Telekom Austria, controlled by Mexico’s America Movil, Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile Austria, and Hutchison Whampoa’s Drei Austria. HUAWEI already has deals with all three, so a HUAWEI storefront makes perfect sense in the country.
According to HUAWEI, it is the second-largest smartphone seller in Austria with a market share of 28 percent. However, other data points to the company being the third-largest, behind Samsung and Apple.
As one would expect, the press conference to announce the HUAWEI Austria store was rife with questions about security and the various legal troubles the company faces throughout the world, most notably in the United States.
Joe Kelly, Vice President of Corporate Communications at HUAWEI, said at the news conference: “We have never been asked by any government or any authority anywhere in the world… to do anything that would compromise or jeopardize… the security of customer networks. If we ever are asked to do so, we will refuse.”
This lines up with previous statements recently made by HUAWEI’s reclusive founder, who said the company has never given information to a domestic or foreign government.
Austria’s technology ministry reaffirmed its support of HUAWEI after the press conference. “Our priority is to protect our networks,” an Austrian spokesman said, adding that he was not aware of concrete suspicions against HUAWEI.
HUAWEI did not divulge the exact location of the upcoming Vienna store.