Huawei: How Can We Lead the Way?
On September 12, 2017, just as Apple's Tim Cook was unveiling the iPhone X, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group (CBG), and Glory Cheung, his Chief Marketing Officer, were discussing some key strategic issues regarding Huawei's smartphone business. Established in 1987, Huawei was the largest telecom equipment company in the world. Huawei established the CBG in 2012 to focus on Huawei-branded smartphone models, and within five years had risen to be the No. 3 player in the market in terms of shipments; next only to Apple and Samsung. As they finished watching Cook's presentation, Yu and Cheung thought about the Mate 10 series, Huawei's most advanced smartphone that would be launched on October 16, 2017 in Germany. The new models would include Huawei's proprietary Kirin 970 chipset, which boasted having the world's first artificial intelligence (AI) mobile processor. They had to decide how to position, communicate and price the new phones. Yet beyond these near term decisions, a major challenge facing Huawei was how to make good on Yu's bold vision to overtake Apple and Samsung in market share within three to five years, while maintaining healthy profits. This task seemed particularly daunting given the difficulties the company had encountered in penetrating the lucrative US market. What would it take for Huawei to be the number 1 smartphone brand globally?