Until recently, Huawei's mobile division was still considered by many to be a second-class smartphone manufacturer, far behind established names such as Samsung, LG or Apple. The years have passed and it has to be said that the situation has changed considerably. The Huawei P30 presentation event held in Paris on Tuesday is proof of this. The Chinese manufacturer now seems to be well on its way to dethroning the mighty Samsung, without even having the opportunity to sell its devices in the United States.
Who would thought a few years ago that Huawei would succeed in becoming one of the most important manufacturers on the smartphone market? The task was not easy and few people could predict its meteoric rise. Many made fun of the brand's devices because the similarity to some Apple and Samsung models was more than just a coincidence. Now the manufacturer has managed to shake things up and take the second place among the biggest manufacturers on the market.
However, the telecom equipment manufacturer's ambitions were clear from the beginning: to conquer the market and propel a Chinese brand to the top. A bold ambition expressed by the company's devices with innovative features and prices that were more attractive compared to the competition at the outset.
Now, things are very different. Huawei has grown, evolved and developed at such a speed that in 2018 it took Apple's second place in the smartphone manufacturers' ranking. Now a key player in all markets (from entry-level to high-end), Huawei is no longer the upstart, but a major player that it has shaken up not just the telecom market, but international politics.
Huawei has everything it needs to become number one....
The new smartphones unveiled in the French capital are the striking proof that Huawei no longer has anything to envy its Korean rival. Launched just over a month after the Galaxy S10, the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro, presented by Richard Yu at the Paris Convention Center, offer everything you would expect from current high-end devices. Featuring elegant designs, they offer attractive specifications and durability that users of Samsung's latest devices would certainly appreciate. The software, which was initially criticized (and rightly so), has improved considerably and offers remarkable fluidity.
In terms of innovation, it's the same thing. Huawei does not disappoint. The company was one of the first to use artificial intelligence for its devices. The photo experience on the P30 Pro also promises to be excellent. The Huawei smartphone can count on a 5x optical zoom (and 10x hybrid) and its configuration with three photo sensors and a Time of Flight sensor to be a good choice. Even in the emerging market for folding smartphones, the solution chosen by the manufacturer with its Mate X seems to be more sensible than the Galaxy Fold of its competitor.
The other side of the coin is that Huawei is also confident enough to match the prices of Samsung flagships. Chinese devices used to be the 'cheap' option, but the brand has become more bourgeois and now offers its smartphones at prices that are no longer as attractive as they once were.
... including a good after-sales service and (soon) physical stores
The brand also made efforts in terms of after-sales service. While the initial feedback was not very good in the community, Huawei has since improved significantly.The manufacturer has expanded its network of regional repair centers in Europe to reduce the time required to diagnose and repair phones in the event of a problem. Customer service has also become international with availability in several languages. The manufacturer can count on its resellers. Even if the service is not yet up to par with Apple's, it is now identical to Samsung's.
The manufacturer also plans to open physical stores in Europe. Around fifteen are planned in 2019, including one in Paris in the Quatier de l'Opéra. Here, Huawei is more inspired by Apple's policy of opening only a few stores per country and not Xiaomi's policy of increasing the number of points of sale. In any case, this store development reflects the brand's desire to establish itself in people's minds and to be as close as possible to consumers. In terms of advertising, the Chinese giant is investing as much as its Korean counterpart, a charm offensive that physical stores are a key part of.
So, what's left for Samsung?
While the world leader has reason to be concerned about Huawei's rise, it still retains some advantages over his rival. In addition to making its own displays, Samsung's image is still stronger than Huawei's, as is its fan community, which remains the largest to date. The espionage charges the Chinese firm faces do not necessarily help its image either.
The American market seems to be resisting Huawei, but is very cozy with Samsung, which is clearly a point that the Chinese firm hardly sees as fair, but must suffer through as long as the Sino-US trade war continues. However, despite this, the manufacturer may well succeed in its objective to be the number one in the world
What do you think of Huawei's rise to power in recent years? Let us know in the comments below.