Gene Jiao, president of Huawei CBG, Middle East & Africa talks to ITP.net ahead of the first ever exclusive store launch in the Middle East.
Can you tell us about the upcoming Huawei store launch?
The new experience store will be the first Huawei standalone store in the Middle East and Africa and will represent our commitment to the Middle East generally, and the UAE in particular. The UAE is a key market for Huawei globally, with Dubai strategically located to reach consumers in and around the region. With a strategic location, the store is set to provide our consumers a compelling space to connect with the Huawei brand, our latest technologies and products at a more personal level.
The new store, set in a sleek and modern layout, will offer our customers in the region a place to test devices, discover and experience the latest Huawei products.
Discuss some product launches Huawei plans for the remainder of the year.
Huawei recently launched the HUAWEI nova 2 Plus in the UAE, which features an upgraded camera, enhanced audio experience, a stylish design, as well as improved performance. Equipped with a 20MP high-definition front camera, 12MP and 8MP rear dual cameras and a professional portrait mode, the HUAWEI nova 2 and HUAWEI nova 2 Plus is built to produce stunning selfies.
Although we cannot reveal much at this stage, Huawei is set to bring to the market something fundamentally new sometime during the second half.
How important is the UAE market to the Huawei CBG and how do you intend to position the Huawei brand within the UAE market?
Innovations in technology appeal to customers in this region, who are willing to try out new lifestyle devices, from smartwatches to fitness trackers. From a broader perspective, the smartphone market in the UAE and across the region is booming; we have seen a shift from feature phones to smartphones, with the UAE one of the leaders in mobile penetration. The growth of brands like Huawei is a key driver of this growth.
Huawei’s commitment to the UAE and its growing relationship with the UAE government can be seen through our recent initiatives. Recently, Huawei announced its partnership with Dubai Smart Government to implement the Happiness Meter in our service centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Huawei will be the first consumer technology brand to measure customer happiness in real time and interact immediately to try to solve their problems. The UAE service team will be the first team globally to measure happiness in real time.
Recently, we also announced a partnership with The Executive Council of Dubai on featuring the Dubai Font on Huawei’s mobile operating system as a pre-loaded font. The font will be available first in the Middle East and Africa and extended globally next year. Huawei is looking forward to a fruitful year and successful relationship with the UAE government and community.
Huawei’s growing reputation in the UAE is evident in YouGov’s recently announced 2017 Brand Index Rankings. For the second consecutive year, Huawei has been ranked third in the UAE Top Index Improvers list, with a significant improvement of 50% in its index scoring.
How much has your business grown in the recent past? (Sales, revenues, profits, etc.)
Huawei CBG recently announced its 2017 first half year financial results: sales revenue for the first six months of 2017 increased by 36.2% year-on-year to USD16 billion. Smartphone shipments also rose to 73.01million, a year-on-year increase of 20.6%. In Q1 2017, Huawei’s market share rose to 9.8% of the global smartphone market, according to IDC. This growth was driven by a significant increase in sales of mid-range and high-end smartphones in key geographies.
This YoY growth was reflected in Huawei’s continued rise as a globally recognised brand. In 2017, Huawei was named number 49 on BrandZ’s Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, number 88 in Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands and number 40 on the Brand Finance Global 500 Most Valuable Brands lists. In this year’s Fortune 500 announced on July 20th, HUAWEI climbed up the list to 83rd place from the 129th position last year with a revenue of $78.51 billion, making the top global 100 for the first time.
What is your outlook for the consumer electronics and/or mobile, etc. in the UAE for the next 12 months?
Our outlook for consumer electronics in the UAE is very strong; recent research by Euromonitor International Middle East shows that the consumer electronics sector grew by about 3% in the last year, mostly driven by tablets, smartphones and wearables. The sector is expected to continue benefitting from positive economic growth and surging shopping tourism over the course of the year. We see the UAE as a society where mobile devices are a key component of how people experience their lives and we strive to be part of that. Additionally, the focus on eGovernment, Smart Cities, M2M technologies, etc. all points to an ever-positive atmosphere for electronics to flourish.
From a global perspective, as Huawei’s brand presence grows, so too will its sales strategy. Huawei is set to grow its already expansive retail network, reaching 56,000 retail stores worldwide by the end of 2017 – an increase from 35,000 in May 2016. These stores reflect the premium image that Huawei has cultivated around the world. Looking ahead, Huawei expects to spur continued growth as the company pushes its devices further through innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning that will drive the new “smart era” forward.