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Huawei is one of the most important technology companies in the world. But there is a market that fails to penetrate: United States.
The Chinese manufacturer has gone, little by little, gaining ground to its rivals to match the binomial formed by the South Korean Samsung, the largest seller of mobile phones in the world, and the American Apple, the second in the ranking.
Along with China’s Xiaomi, it was the only brand that experienced growth during the last quarter of 2017, while all the others lost sales in the first global decline in the sector, according to data from technology consultancy Gartner.
Global sales of mobile phones
during the fourth quarter of 2017
74 million units? (18.2% *)
73.2 million (17.9%)
- Huawei 43.9 million (10.8%)
- Xiaomi 28.2 million? (6.9%)
- OPPO 25.7 million (6.3%)
Not many manufacturers can boast sales figures like Huawei.
Throughout 2017, it sold 150,534 million smartphones, 9.8 percent of the world total . And it has grown almost double compared to 2016.
In recent years, it has grown in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East , becoming one of the most important mobile phone manufacturers in the world.
However, things are not easy in the United States.
Just two weeks ago, the heads of the main intelligence agencies of the United States discouraged the use of smart phones Huawei and the Chinese ZTE for security reasons .
“They do not share our values, “ said Chris Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
They also argued that Asian companies could be spying on US officials.
But what does Huawei say about it?
“They try to leave us out”
In the framework of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the largest mobile phone fair in the world, held in Barcelona, Spain, from February 26 to March 1, the BBC spoke with Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei.
“Every year we have strong sales, every year!” , assured the businessman, who has been working for the company for 25 years.
“We have the opportunity to be number one, maybe we’re not very far,” he said without hiding a broad smile, before responding that “of course” one day they will be.
Regarding the obstacles in the US market, Yu argues that some politicians “try to leave us out because we are too competitive . “
“We have leading technology, first-rate innovations … so that worries them, we are too strong, ” he said.
But is not the US veto related to the subsidies the company receives from the Chinese government?
“They try to say that,” replied Yu, “but we are an independent company .”
“They try to use that kind of political argument to keep us out.”
Huawei is also one of the leading companies in the world in artificial intelligence.
The firm, founded by engineer Ren Zhengfei in 1987, is headquartered in Shenzhen, a small village in southern China that has become a technological benchmark inside and outside the country.
Its business goes beyond mobile telephony : it not only supplies smartphones , but it is the most important Chinese telecommunications equipment company since the 90s. It achieved this by first conquering peripheral areas and then more relevant areas.
What are your plans for the next five years? Will Huawei dominate mobile telephony?
And, most importantly , will you finally be able to enter the US market?
“We can be number one in the whole world,” Yu said. “With or without the US market . “
Today, the company has about 180,000 employees and reaches “more than a third of the world’s population” with its products, according to its website.
Users in the United States can buy Huawei phones in places like Amazon, but not in the catalogs of the operators, which have almost complete control of the market in the country.