Given the current ban with the US, Huawei CBG Belux managing director Allen Yao said, “The European market is the most important market for us.” (Shop pictured in Kiev, Ukraine)
Huawei’s BeLux leadership team was in Luxembourg on Thursday to discuss the company’s commitment to the local market, including the opening of the Huawei's first in-store service shop in Bertrange on 1 July.
The timing of the visit with local press comes on the heels of a Bloomberg report which stated that Huawei had worked on research projects with various Chinese armed forces personnel, “indicating closer ties to the country’s military than previously acknowledged by the smartphone and networking powerhouse”. Huawei, however, responded that it was not aware of such research, nor was it company-sanctioned.
And earlier today, Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese president Xi Jinping was to meet with US president Donald Trump to, among other terms, request the lifting of the ban on US tech sales to Huawei.
At the start of the Luxembourg meeting with the press, Allen Yao, Huawei Consumer Business Goods (CBG) BeLux Managing Director, said he would not answer questions concerning politics, as it was outside of his remit.
“Huawei honestly does not want to be involved in this. We have our business and targets, and we are always focused on long-term strategy and investing in technology, in R&D,” he said. “In some of the different areas, maybe we are a little bit leading the industry. This is why I think we got some attack from the US. But Huawei is still focused on our own business.”
That year alone, the company spent over ¥100bn (some $15bn) in R&D--nearly 15% of its revenue which placed the company at number 72 on the Fortune Global 500 list.
Yao, who has been based in Brussels since 2017, said that “nothing is changed” when it came to the company’s emphasis on providing the “best product and best user experience” for the consumer. The company has two R&D centres in Belgium (Leuven and Ghent).
Yao added that about a week ago, Huawei signed its commitment to business partners in Luxembourg and Belgium which promises that it will continue supporting all security updates and providing application updates on their devices, and that it will continue providing its 2-year warranty on its products.
Among the products touted by Yao were the P30 series, which has been praised for its photography capacity, including in low lighting, with its up to 50x zoom.
Strengthening the local footprint
This spring, the company rep said they were aiming for a 20% market share in Luxembourg and, although this rate had already been achieved in Belgium, the company’s share in the grand duchy is “growing, but the speed of growth is a bit slower than expected,” Yao says. He estimates this rate is currently hovering around 8-10%.
But there are plans to continue investing in the grand duchy, and in Europe more broadly. Given the current ban with the US, Yao added, “The European market is the most important market for us.”
Indeed on Wednesday Huawei’s rotating CEO and deputy chairman, Ken Hu, said that the company had 50 “commercial 5G contracts”, which span 30 countries, over 50% of which with European players.
Although 5G is also outside of Yao’s remit, both he and his colleague, spokesperson Jurgen Thysmans, agree it’s necessary to have better client interface with the local market in Luxembourg. It’s for this reason that Huawei will have its first branded service shop in Luxembourg as of 1 July, inside of the DIL Repair Centre in Bertrange (211, rue des Romains). A hotline is already active at (+352) 26 11 00 20.