Huawei unveils UK smartphone launch plans

Huawei is preparing to offer its first branded handset into the UK market as early as next month using its entry-level Blaze smartphone. The company, which has previously focused on partnering exclusively with operators, is now changing its strategy having successfully launched Huawei-branded handsets in India and Australia.

Mark Mitchinson, the company's UK executive vice president, said that he is targeting a market share of 4 per cent to 5 per cent within 12 months, but admitted in an interview with Bloomberg, "We're trying to establish the brand, almost from scratch."

This move will see Huawei enter what is recognised as one of Europe's most competitive handset markets where it will compete head-on with the likes of HTC Samsung and Sony Ericsson and HTC for a slice of the Android-based device segment.

Commenting on the announcement, Roberta Cozza, a UK-based analyst at Gartner, told Bloomberg that Huawei has around 1 per cent share of the UK handset market [due to operator partnerships] and that may rise to 3 per cent in a year, she estimates.

However, Cozza warns that Huawei will need to invest "very heavily" to compete with HTC, which also struggled to establish itself initially due to lack of brand awareness. "The problem they have is the brand. It's a limitation for them."

In an effort to overcome this issue, Huawei said that it was planning to sell its MediaPad tablet and Vision smartphone in the UK, with Mitchinson also confirming that the company would seek the support of Everythign Eveyrwhere, O2 UK and Vodafone UK.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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