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China’s Huawei to offer smartphone for high-end market

huawei

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei will launch a new smartphone on Tuesday to better compete with high-end rivals like Apple and Samsung overseas, a company official said.

Huawei will unveil the Ascend P6 in London in one of its major smartphone launches of the year, Huawei spokesman Roland Sladek told AFP.

The move is “significant” because it marks a global launch held outside Huawei’s home base of China and will be a stand-alone event, unlike previous launches at industry trade shows, he said.

The venue for the launch is London’s Roundhouse, Dow Jones Newswires reported, a legendary cultural venue which has previously hosted shows by rock icons such as Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd.

“It’s a very well-designed, very appealing phone — one of the thinnest phones in the world,” Sladek said.

“It’s certainly competing with Apple but beyond that it’s really looking for an audience who look for a piece of modern fashion,” he said.

Starting as a provider of telecom network equipment, Huawei has sought to make inroads into mobile devices by selling smartphones under its own brand over the past three years.

The company, founded by a former engineer in the Chinese army, has also found controversy overseas for its traditional line of business.

The US Congress last year warned network equipment supplied by Huawei could be used for spying and called for its exclusion from government contracts and acquisitions.

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Huawei has denied those claims and accused the US government of protectionism.

In China’s highly competitive smartphone segment, Huawei held a 10.1 percent share in the first quarter of this year, higher than Apple’s 6.4 percent, according to consultancy Analysys International.

South Korea’s Samsung was the market leader for smartphones in China with 17.3 percent for the period, its data showed.

“The handset products Huawei launched before were relatively low-end and low-priced,” said Wang Jun of Analysys International.

“The launch of this higher quality handset is related to Huawei’s own strategy of product excellence,” he said.

“The value of its brand was not well reflected before, when it used low-priced products to grab market share.”

Although a major vendor in China and some other international markets, Huawei has limited smartphone sales in the United States, where it launched a phone using Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform.

Huawei has a reputation for secrecy which the company has tried to shed after US claims it was a security threat.

Company founder Ren Zhengfei gave his first media briefing outside China by speaking to journalists in New Zealand in May.

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