You've most likely never even heard of them, but little-known Chinese company Huawei has today revealed its lofty goal: to become a top five mobile phone supplier globally within the next two years.
Speaking at the company's launch of its device portfolio of mobile phones, tablets and broadband products for the second half of 2011, Alex Huang, director of Huawei's devices division, outlined plans to "transform" the company's operations with the intention of making Huawei a household name.
"Globally, we have shipped 120 million units since the creation of the Huawei devices business. With our distribution and branding strategies evolving over the last six to twelve months, our goal for 2011 is to reach US$6 billion in sales revenue," he said.
Huawei is already well regarded as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) suppling Australian telcos with devices such as 3G broadband Internet dongles. In December last year the company officially launched itself as a consumer brand, and immediately targeted the low-end segment of the mobile phone market.
It launched the Huawei IDEOS U8150 through Crazy Johns and Australia Post outlets late last year for just $129 (now sold for $99 online), and followed in March with the slightly higher priced IDEOS X5 for $349 outright at Crazy John's and Dick Smith stores.
"It was only in December last year that we saw Huawei launch itself as a consumer brand," said Mark Treadwell, Huawei's head of marketing in Australia. "From just six months ago we have already seen phenomenal growth. We are truly championing affordable innovation and, moving forward, we will be doing even more to make Huawei a household name."
Yesterday, Huawei continued its intentions to dominate the low-end of the market by announcing the launch of the IDEOS X1 Android phone. The device will be available exclusively through Optus from 1 July, and will sell for just $99. It will be a direct competitor to Telstra's Smart-Touch Android phone, which also sells for $99.
Despite the company's original push to dominate the entry level market, Huawei was keen to showcase phones in all price ranges. One of its hero products for the second half of 2011 will be the Huawei Honour, which boasts a 4in touchscreen, runs the latest 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android operating system and has an 8-megapixel camera. The Huawei U9000 also sits at the high end of the market and includes a larger 4.1in touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera and is powered by a 1GHz processor.
Other Huawei models expected to be released in Australia later this year include the Huawei Boulder, a candybar Android phone with a full QWERTY keyboard and 3-megapixel camera; the Huawei Spark, which has a 3.7in touchscreen; and the Huawei Sonic, which will be sold exclusively through Woolworths and Dick Smith from late next month. Pricing for these phones has not yet been announced, and official availability is yet to be confirmed.
In addition to phones, Huawei showed off its 7in Android tablet, the MediaPad, to journalists today. The device is the world's first Android tablet running the 3.2 Honeycomb version of Google's Android platform.
The MediaPad has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera that doubles as full HD 1080p video recorder, a HDMI port, and offers both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. It's likely to be sold through carriers when it launches in Australia in the coming months.
Huawei also unveiled its new "consumer specific" website Huawei Mobile, which integrates the company's Australian Facebook page.
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