“Our products are the best,” Richard Yu, Huawei CEO of Consumer Business Group said plainly, during the launch of its Mate 20 series in London recently.
“If it is not the best, or if someone else says their product is better, we will spend whatever it takes through Research and Development (R&D) to gain back this ever elusive market share,” he jokes to a room full of reporters.
Indeed, Huawei has had a spectacular rise - it surpassed Apple to become the world's second largest smartphone maker, after Samsung.
Huawei spent a record $13.8 billion on R&D, comfortable placing the company as among world's top spenders, with budget projected to hit $20 billion in the coming year
Its emergence as a tech powerhouse is, in large part, supported by its serious investment into R&D.
Last year, Huawei spent a record $13.8 billion on R&D, comfortable placing the company as among world's top spenders, with budget projected to hit $20 billion in the coming year.
But Huawei's prominence and beefed-up research spending into the next generation of technologies and networks is scaring countries like the United States, which banned the used of Huawei's products among government staffers and IT contractors due to national security concerns a.ka. cyberspying.
Australia quickly followed suit by blocking Huawei from providing its next generation 5G mobile network in the country.
When asked if Huawei will attempt to re-enter the U.S, Yu was ambivalent in his answer.
“The entry to the US market is tough and tricky. It is always important to note that there are multiple factors to consider,” he shrugs when answering. “We are of course constantly talking to the respective regulators, but I don’t see us entering the US market any time soon,” he adds.
A brief background on Yu; he joined Huawei in 1993 where he has held many crucial roles that lead to his emergence one of the China's rising corporate faces on the global stage. He served as 3G Product Director, Vice-President of Wireless Technical Sales, and later as President of the Wireless Network Product division.
He has also held posts of President of the European Area and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of Huawei Devices before becoming CEO Consumer Business Group.
“Our smartphones now have the latest Artificial Intelligence technology,” says Yu. “We have a global network of engineering teams and our R&D offices are complemented not just in the areas of science, but in design too,” says Yu, as the Shenzhen-based company is also gearing up for 5G commercial deployment, going up against Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Ericsson to get it out fastest.
At the Mate 20 London event, Yu also revealed that Huawei is working on a foldable 5G smartphone. Without giving too much away, he says the the project is currently in 'lab testing' and will be launched next year.