China's Huawei sets high goal for US, global market

January 6, 2017

The top executive of number three smartphone maker Huawei on Wednesday laid out an ambitious agenda for the US and global markets, brushing aside political issues that have hampered the Chinese group.

Richard Yu, of Huawei's consumer business group, made a string of appearances at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, where he maintained the company's goal of becoming the world's biggest smartphone maker within five years.

"We want to be number two in the next two years," Yu told a small group of reporters after a keynote speech at the Las Vegas show. "In five years we want to be number one."

Yu said Huawei, which introduced two handsets at the tech gathering, has performed better on many technical tests and consumer surveys than its top two smartphone rivals, Samsung and Apple.

But he said it will be important for Huawei to make better inroads in the US market, especially in the premium smartphone segment. And to do that it needs to develop relations with carriers, through which most devices are sold, not only in direct sales of unlocked phones.

"In the next two to five years we should do more with carriers," he said.

He argued US consumers are looking for something new in smartphones, describing most of the others on the market as "boring."

"In the US market consumers need a better product," he said.

At CES, Huawei announced the US release of its flagship Mate 9 handset, which was launched in other markets last year, and the global launch of its mid-range Honor 6x.

Yu brushed off criticism regarding Huawei's ties to the Beijing government, which was heightened after a US congressional report.

He said such concerns are based on "misunderstanding" and possibly fueled by "our competitors" who "are using this to fight us."

"We have no relations with any government," Yu said, adding that Huawei is "a private company owned by its employees."

He said he Huawei would not collaborate with governments to spy on consumers because "if we do that with one government we would have problems with other countries."

Asked about the impact Trump's administration would have on Huawei's business, Yu said, "My feeling is that Trump is a businessman."

Despite Trump's harsh rhetoric on China and trade, Yu said he hoped Trump would understand that bilateral trade is beneficial to both countries.

"You can't do everything yourself," he said. "The economy is globalized. The US also benefits a lot from China, from Chinese companies."

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