Huawei targets Samsung and Apple smartphone customers

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Manufacturer claims new Ascend P6 smartphone can compete against the market’s elite

Galaxy S4,iPhone 5,Huawei is looking to go head to head with Samsung and Apple when it releases its new flagship smartphone, the Ascend P6.

The Chinese firm, which is the world’s fourth biggest smartphone vendor, unveiled the 6.18mm device – the world’s slimmest phone – during a launch event at London’s Roundhouse music venue on June 17 in front of 300 global partners and journalists.

The handset is the third Ascend device in the firm’s portfolio, following the launch of the P1 in 2011 – then also touted as the world’s slimmest device, at 7.7mm – and the P2 earlier this year, claimed to be the world’s fastest.

According to Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu (pictured), Huawei is now capable of competing with any high-end device in the marketplace, naming Apple and Samsung handsets as examples.

He even belittled Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Mini, claiming it is inferior to the P6 in terms of quality and performance.

Yu said: “Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 Mini, but that handset isn’t on the same level as the Ascend P6. We’re looking at handsets like the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 – that’s the level of product we want to compete with.

“Technology changes very quickly but at Huawei we have taken a position of leadership in innovation. We want people to understand that you can get the best smartphone from Huawei rather than from one of our competitors.

“The market is so dynamic, and we will do whatever we need to do to bring the best quality products to market.”

Carphone Warehouse has already confirmed it will stock the device. In a rare public appearance, Carphone Warehouse chairman and co-founder Sir Charles Dunstone took to the stage to back Yu’s claims.

“Although Huawei is a relatively new player in this marketplace, the Ascend P6 will absolutely compete at the top level,” Dunstone said.

“I have probably worked in the mobile phone industry longer than anyone else in the UK. I’ve seen all the phones, manufacturers and people come and go. We are taking this incredibly seriously. If you look at the resources they have and the quality of products being delivered, Huawei could be a very big player in the smartphone marketplace for years to come.”

Pricing and marketing

The Ascend P6 will be priced at £385 SIM-free – considerably less expensive than the high-end handsets from the brands mentioned by Yu, such as the Apple iPhone 5 (£529) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (£559).

In addition, Yu confirmed Huawei will continue to invest large sums of money to help grow brand awareness in the UK and increase consumer trust in its products.

While he admitted growing the brand will take time, he believes the firm’s ‘first to market’ approach, building innovative and affordable devices, will be key to achieving its goals.

“We’re continuously increasing the investment in branding to tell people who Huawei is and what we do. We need time to build our brand and win the trust of consumers, which is central to a strong brand,” Yu said.

“Our competitors invest a huge amount in marketing their brands. We want the most innovative product with the best design at a reasonable price to compete with our competitors in order to win the trust of the consumer.”

Full report in Mobile News issue 542 (July 1, 2013).

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