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What Huawei needs to do in 2018

  • January 21, 2018

Enter the U.S., but don’t leave during the tough times

Don’t believe Huawei’s messaging that its current move into the U.S. is the first time it has tried penetrating the market. It’s done so before with phones like the P8 Lite, GX8, and Mate 9. So it’s not as if the U.S. is completely new to Huawei. Unfortunately, though, the company seems to give up the moment things get difficult. If sales aren’t at a high volume almost immediately, Huawei pulls the plug and goes back to focusing on Asia and Europe.

Those failures of the past should help keep the Mate 10 Pro from becoming a total flop, though there’s still additional work to be done.

To start, the Mate 10 Pro will actually be promoted in places where the average consumer will see it. Huawei reportedly has around $100 million committed to getting the Mate 10 Pro promoted everywhere.

But, of course, running online, television, radio, and outdoor ads aren’t going to make the Mate 10 Pro an overnight success. In fact, the average consumer probably still won’t consider buying it. That doesn’t mean the Mate 10 Pro is a subpar phone. Samsung just holds that tight of a grip on the U.S. market.

Building a brand takes time, and having recognition elsewhere doesn’t translate very well. Consumers need to see a brand promoted, learn what the brand offers, and then take the risk in buying products from that brand. Huawei can’t expect to run some ads and have people make purchases at a record-setting pace. It’ll likely take a few years before Huawei makes significant progress in the market. Once it does, the company will realize the patience was well worth the reward.

The Mate 10 Pro doesn’t appear like it’ll have any U.S. carriers helping out. ATT initially agreed to sell the phone, but Huawei’s close relationship with the Chinese government drew pressure from U.S. lawmakers. The carrier reversed its decision the day before the Mate 10 Pro was unveiled at CES 2018. Verizon, too, was rumored to become a partner later in the year but has since been discouraged for the same reason.

Make no mistake: Huawei stands absolutely no chance at rivaling anyone in the U.S. for as long as local carriers refuse to provide support.

Still, the Mate 10 Pro is coming. The company hasn’t been turned off by two of the nation’s largest carriers turning their backs. Huawei will sell the phone through Amazon, Best Buy, and Microsoft. So that alone is a good sign that Huawei doesn’t want to go home before the phone is even released. The new challenge is figuring out how to persuade both the U.S. government and carriers that the Chinese government isn’t involved in Huawei’s business whatsoever.

Huawei will never enter first place worldwide until it achieves some success in North America, and there’s no way to do that unless the U.S. is won over. If Huawei wants to be the world’s largest smartphone brand, it has to accept that short-term failure is okay.

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