The chairman of Carphone Warehouse has thrown his support behind Huawei, saying the ambitious Chinese manufacturer will be ‘a very big player’ for many years to come.
Sir Charles Dunstone was speaking at the launch of the Ascend P6, a 6.18mm thick smartphone that is Huawei’s new flagship. The handset will go on sale next month, across all four operators, plus Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk. It is expected to be aggressively priced, with contract deals in place from £21 per month and no upfront cost.
Sir Charles said the Ascend P6 will be the first Huawei handset to be stocked at its retail stores. He said: ‘It is the most fantastic partner but also the most extraordinary engineering organisation because its skills and knowledge come from those who build networks. There’s a massive depth of knowledge and understanding.’
He said the handset, which is being targeted at avid social networkers thanks to a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, was competing at the top level of the market. He said: ‘During my career I have seen a lot of phones… all of the phones to be honest, but we are taking this incredibly seriously. If you look at the resources that they have, the determination and the quality of products being delivered, Huawei is going to be a very big player in the marketplace for many years to come.’
In an interview with the Financial Times last week, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer device group Richard Yu flirted with a possible bid for Nokia, in a sign of the Chinese manufacturer’s ambitions. At the launch of the Ascend P6, he said the device showed that the company should be measured against the market leaders. He said: ‘Our competitor [Samsung] is about to launch with the S 4 mini but it’s not at the same level as [the Ascend P6]. The S 4 and iPhone 5 are at this level of phone. The technology is improving and at Huawei we want to be the leaders of the industry for innovation.’
He took a swipe at his rivals when he was asked if Huawei would break into the mainstream with the help of a huge marketing budget. He said: ‘Our competitors put huge money on marketing and branding. That’s why the phones are so expensive whether they are good or not.’ He said the bulk of the spend will be on the device rather than the marketing and added Huawei’s focus was to build consumer trust.
Author: Graeme Neill