Manufacturer’s goal is to become more focused on consumer experience
Huawei says it has taken significant strides in the smartphone market over the past 12 months, claiming brand awareness in the UK has reached an all time high.
Speaking during Mobile World Congress, Huawei executive vice president Colin Giles said the manufacturer’s market share in the UK trebled to a “modest” two per cent during that period.
He added overall brand awareness in the UK had rocketed from 12 per cent in 2012 to 36 per cent in 2013 – a rise of 200 per cent.
Globally, awareness increased in its home market, China, from 32 per cent to 68 per cent, whilst in Spain, Germany and France it now stands at 60 per cent, 53 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, up from 25 per cent, 16 per cent and 10 per cent.
He said it sees the UK as a key European market along with Germany and Italy. Market share in Germany grew fourfold in 2013 to 4.9 per cent, while in Italy it grew threefold to 5.4 per cent.
“These are modest numbers but we are a young company and we are growing. In the UK we now have two per cent market share. It is a very competitive market so although this is a small number it is encouraging,” Giles said.
Huawei also fulfilled two other goals announced at MWC in 2013. It increased the proportion of devices it sells via non-operator channels from 30 per cent in 2012 to 50 per cent currently.
It has achieved its aim to sell far fewer feature phones as a proportion of sales. In 2012, 60 per cent of devices sold were smartphones; that number is now 87 per cent.
Giles said: “This time last year Huawei set itself a goal of becoming less of a product and technology company and more a company that is focused on consumer experience.
“We decided we really need to work on our brand. And I can say that we have made progress.”
Huawei unveiled five 4G devices at Mobile World Congress including ‘TalkBand B1’, a wearable fitness tracker that also lets users receive phone calls via a Bluetooth earpiece.
The Chinese manufacturer added the Ascend G6, which has a 4.5-inch screen, to its smartphone range. The €249 (£205) mid-range phone has a five-megapixel front-facing camera, a 2,000 mAh battery and runs on a quad core 1.2GHz processor.
Huawei said the device is aimed at the 18-30 age group, and has included a number of features aimed at those who enjoy taking pictures of themselves. This includes a “selfie preview window” and “auto-face enhancement”.
The Ascend G6 will be available from Q1 2014 and Ascend G6 4G from April 2014.
The company unveiled two tablets, the MediaPad M1 and MediaPad X1. The former has an eight-inch screen, dual front-facing speakers and is powered by a 1.6GHz quad core processor and 4800 mAh battery. The €299 device is 7.9mm thick and has a one-megapixel front-facing camera and a five-megapixel rear-facing camera.
The €399 MediaPad M1 will be available in black and white from Q1 2014 in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, China, Japan, Asia Pacific, Australia and Latin America with other markets to follow.
The MediaPad X1 has a seven-inch screen and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. It is powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and a 500 mAh battery.
The device will be available in black, white, champagne and light pink in China, Russia, Western Europe, Middle East, Japan and Latin America from March 2014.
Huawei’s TalkBand B1 is a wearable device featuring a removable Bluetooth earpiece.
The TalkBand only works when synced to the MediaPad M1, but Huawei chief executive Richard Yu said future versions will work with all its devices and across many other Android smartphones.
The band works with an application to monitor fitness, primarily steps taken and calories burned. It also tracks sleeping patterns.
It will retail at around €99.