Technology

Huawei ‘confident' of challenging Apple and Samsung in UK

The Chinese smartphone maker also believes it can see off other Asian rivals attempting to disrupt the market.

Huawei is “confident” it can continue to challenge the likes of Apple and Samsung in the UK, as well as combat the rise of other Chinese firms expanding into Europe.

Walter Ji, the technology firm’s president in western Europe, said the strong performance of its most recent smartphones – the P20 and P20 Pro – proves the Chinese company has now established itself as a major figure in the phone market.

The firm’s P20 Pro was the first triple rear camera smartphone when it launched earlier this year to critical acclaim.

“The UK is an important market; we’re not afraid to invest a lot because it’s a big market and we’re quite confident because our device is so innovative,” Mr Ji told the Press Association, adding that the firm’s focus on improving the cameras in its latest devices was key to their success.

“We’re happy to say that, in the first two-and-a-half months (of sale) there’s been more than seven million shipments globally – that’s incredible.”

(Martyn Landi/PA)
The Huawei P20 Pro (Martyn Landi/PA)

“We focus on consumer needs much more than any other brands. We call it meaningful innovation – for example, although (previous phones) the P9 and P10 had good cameras because of our collaboration to co-engineer them with Leica, we continued to survey the market,” he said.

“Consumers were happy with the P9 and P10 camera quality, but still wanted extra – for instance, they wanted extraordinary photos in low light and extra quality in zoom.

“So we did a lot of research and R&D investment in the camera so that we are able to provide much, much better picture quality in low light and also when using zoom – and these were very, very much appreciated by consumers.”

Huawei is now the third largest smartphone maker in Europe – behind only Samsung and Apple – but is facing new pressures from other emerging Chinese tech companies.

Rival manufacturer Xiaomi is reportedly among those planning to enter the market in Europe, but Mr Ji said he believes the company’s current strong position in China suggests they can stay ahead of rivals in other regions.

“When we look at the Chinese market, Huawei has been in number one position for the past two years, and we grow year by year due to our great products, great services, great brand engagement,” he said.

“It’s not easy to win the trust of consumers, but we try our best and we are on the right path.

Mr Ji also hinted at the company’s plans for the 12 months, confirming that a new flagship phone in the company’s Mate line-up will be launched in the autumn, before a successor to the P20 is announced next year.

He also revealed that Huawei would use the IFA technology trade show in Berlin at the end of August to unveil new plans around artificial intelligence (AI).

(Huawei)
(Huawei)

Last year, the firm announced what it claimed was the world’s first AI-powered processor, called a neural network processing unit (NPU), which enabled artificial intelligence tasks such as object recognition could be done directly on a device.

Huawei said this system is faster than current cloud-based AI technology as most of the processing takes place on the phone.

“Huawei has been investing a lot in artificial intelligence,” Mr Ji said.

“We were the first brand to launch an NPU chipset last year and this year at IFA you will see something even more incredible.”

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