Huawei outpaced global sales of Apple phones and became the world's second smartphone provider this year, according to market share at the end of the second quarter. The new goal of the Chinese company is to shift the first, currently owned by Samsung, to 2020.
"Next year we will be very close to number one, maybe we will be on par with Samsung, and at least next year, maybe we have a chance (to be number one)," said Richard Yu, general manager of Huawei Consumer Division, for exclusive interview with CNBC.
Huawei speaks of folding phones, 5G technology and augmented reality glasses. But it was not always a world-class company. In fact, Huawei did not even have his own smartphone by 2010, three years after Apple debuted for the first time with the first iPhone.
The company has become one of the largest technology companies in China due to the development of mobile network equipment and is now one of the largest suppliers in the world for this market. He was also an original designer (ODM), which meant that he designed and manufactured devices for other companies.
Innovation was the key to Huawei's ascension
In 2010, Huawei introduced its first smartphone called IDEOS with the operating system from Google Android and costs about 60 euros. Eight years later, the company launches phones with original artificial intelligence and the highest quality equipment for over 1000 euros.
The transition from ODM to today's giant has been implemented by Richard Yu, who previously worked for the Business-to-Business Huawei (B2B) and became the general director of the Consumer Group in 2012. The weather, some market trends made Yu see the potential of Huawei on the telephone market, including the transition from smartphones to smartphones and the arrival of mobile 4G Internet.
He decided that Huawei would stop producing classic telephones and focus on advanced smartphones with stronger batteries and bigger screens, exactly what consumers expect.
The CEO says he likes to take risks that have helped Huawei grow rapidly.
"I encourage the team to have this ability to innovate, introduce bold innovations, do something that some people say is a bit crazy to provoke themselves and the industry," Yu said in an interview with CNBC.
Plans for the future
For Yu artificial intelligence (AI) will be a key technology that will guide smartphones to a higher level and help the company develop in the future.
"AI will come in. AI will be the engine for all future services and will be the basis for working on many devices, will connect all applications." The biggest change in the next ten years will be the capabilities of AI phones, "said Yu.
Huawei is currently working on a folding phone that will debut next year and will be the company's first 5G phone. Yu also said that augmented reality (AR) glasses are also in the factory. These new technologies can be a development engine for Huawei.
In turn, the president of Samsung, DJ Koh, said in an interview with CNBC in a September interview that the company is changing its strategy for mid-level smartphones to offer its customers more innovative features at lower prices, a move that can help mitigate Huawei's threat. This strategy was observed in Galaxy A9, the world's first smartphone with a quad lens, introduced in October.
And Samsung will not be easy to beat. It fell from the first position on the smartphone market three times in the last five years, usually only for a quarter, according to data from Counterpoint Research.
Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint, estimates that Huawei should sell 30 to 40 million smartphones by a quarter to beat Samsung.
But Shah said Samsung's sales may calm down due to fierce competition that may help Huawei become number one.
Yu's ambitions are bigger than smartphones. They want Huawei to start developing new products, such as laptops and smart speakers. Yu strives to create an ecosystem of intelligent devices.
"We want to take the leadership role over the next ten years to become an integrated, intelligent solution," said Yu in an interview with CNBC.