5/12/2011 11:17:00 AM
Huawei’s guns blaze with Mitch return
To some it came as a surprise, but to many it was only a matter of time. Whether in either camp, Mitchinson’s return to the manufacturing industry sent shivers down the spines of Huawei’s rivals. It certainly seems more fitting. Of course, Carphone has sung Mitch’s praises, but after Samsung it was clear what kind of manufacturer chief he makes.
Mitchinson’s reputation as a consummate agent provocateur means his rivals will be watching his every move. And that includes HTC, where his newly promoted nephew Jon French will be marshalling the troops. Huawei has made no secret of its plans to storm the market and HTC’s trajectory is the blueprint that it is modelling itself on. And no wonder – HTC has truly taken its place in the market over the last year – like Huawei, it began life as a white label manufacturer.
Execs at Huawei have admitted that HTC’s is the path they wish to take, giving the Chinese giant a recognisable mobile brand within the next two years.
Despite the Mitch threat, HTC won’t be a pushover. The manufacturer’s brand awareness is unrivaled and its Android association second to none.
And HTC is constantly innovating – only this week it revealed a march into retail which sees it way ahead of white label manufacturer Huawei and rivalling the biggest player in that area – Apple.
On top of this, Huawei still has to prove its product. HTC came in with high-end phones but Huawei’s have always hit the lower end of the market.
But Huawei plays a long game if you look at its infrastructure division. When it clinched the Everything Everywhere network deal this week it was its first major UK network infrastructure contract since it won BT Landline six years ago. It may take a similar view on manufacturing.
If anyone can do it, Mitch can. He is a big player, and one of the most respected in the industry – and this gives Huawei UK gravitas. Whether it can carve out a substantial share of the own branded devices market in the UK not only depends on Mitchinson, it also depends on how much the other manufacturers up their game. In such a crowded market, Mitch might need to look back to his Samsung days for inspiration.