Huawei is “open” to selling high-speed 5G chips and other silicon to rival smartphone vendors including one of its top competitorsApple, marking a significant shift in the Chinese tech giant’s thinking toward its own intellectual property.
The world’s largest networking equipment maker has been in the consumer market for a relatively short amount of time with its own-brand smartphones, but it has quickly risen to become the third-largest vendor by market share.
Huawei started by selling phones at low prices but in recent years has shifted focus to increase its market share in the high end of the market, battling Apple and Samsung. As part of that move, Huawei has developed its own chips, including a modem to give smartphones 5G connectivity, and a processor to power its devices. 5G is next-generation mobile internet, which delivers data at very high speeds.
The consumer business at Huawei became its largest division in 2018, overtaking its core networking business. Huawei released its first Huawei-branded smartphone in 2010. It was an inexpensive handset, and in its first few years, the company released cheap devices.
Ren admitted the company made mistakes in its smartphone strategy, but says it learned from them.
“We set prices based on our costs, which were relatively low. Our costs were low for two reasons. First, as our technology advanced rapidly, we managed to bring down the costs of our products. Second, thanks to the Western management approaches we brought in, our operational costs were also kept low,” he said.
“As a result,” he added, “we set our prices at a relatively low level, which made it hard for Western companies to compete with us. We have reflected on this a lot.”
“We have raised our prices and now many people think Huawei is expensive,” he added.