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HUAWEI faces "challenging" Mate 9 launch in the US
Huawei is soon set to launch its latest smartphone, the HUAWEI Mate 9, in the US, but could face difficulties in getting consumers to adopt the brand. Speaking to The Wall Street journal, a HUAWEI US manager, who wished to remain unnamed, said the hurdles of the Mate 9’s US release are “very challenging”.
The Chinese manufacturer’s low brand recognition in the US and concerns with its phones’ security – which were once suspected of posing a potential national security threat to the States – may hurt HUAWEI’s sales opportunities. However, HUAWEI is also expected to incur significant costs in making its smartphones meet the technical demands of US cell networks. “We haven’t figured out how to remove those obstacles,” said the HUAWEI manager.
HUAWEI announced that the Mate 9 would be sold in the US last month, but hasn’t revealed a release date or price. People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that the device would likely be sold through online retailers only, expressing that Verizon and Sprint would see little benefit in selling HUAWEI phones on their network. A partnership with T-Mobile could be ruled out on account of HUAWEI being in the midst of a patent dispute with the carrier.
HUAWEI began selling its flagship phones in the US earlier this year and currently holds a reported 0.4% smartphone market share there, compared to Apple’s 39% and Samsung’s 23% share. In a recent interview, CEO of HUAWEI’s Consumer Business Group Richard Yu said he wants HUAWEI to overtake Apple as the second biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world in two years.
The HUAWEI Mate 9 is on sale now for €699 (around 743 dollars) in Europe. Read our current thoughts on it in our hands-on HUAWEI Mate 9 review.