Huawei to open London smartphone design centre

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Huawei will open a mobile devices design centre in London as part of its efforts to become a leading smartphone vendor in Europe.

The company said the centre, which will open early next year, will focus on designing products exclusively for the European market and especially younger-aged users. Commenting on the plans, Mark Mitchinson, Huawei's executive vice president for the UK & Ireland, told the Wall Street Journal that this youth sector is "not brand loyal, but very demanding."

Richard Ren, Huawei device president of West Europe said in a statement: "The Huawei London Design Centre (LDC) demonstrates we are absolutely committed to the UK and Europe for the launch of our new smartphone products and brand. The LDC will enable us to grow smartphone market share in Europe through customer insight, focus and collaboration."

Adding insight into how the Chinese vendor plans to approach the European market, Huawei's CMO for devices, Victor Xu, indicated the company was expanding its handset strategy beyond white-label devices. In an interview with Mobile Today, the Huawei exec said  the company would move to offering Huawei-branded phones to establish a hierarchy of low to high-end devices within its portfolio ranging from mass market to flagship. "We are trying to deliver more complicated devices for the market to choose from," he said.

Judging the success Huawei might achieve, Mitchinson said: "We are aiming for 4 per cent market share by the end of 2012 in the UK. Globally, we are looking to double our share. We only introduced our first OEM device, the Blaze, three months ago. Now we have the Vision smartphone and our first tablet, the MediaPad. We expect to add more retailers and operators to our distribution channels as we go into 2012."

Huawei has stated that it has ambitions to establish itself as one of the top five smartphone vendors within three years, and top three in the next five years.

For more:
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this Cellular News article
- see this Mobile Today article

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