In America, Huawei does not have quite the same ring to it as Samsung or Apple. It is, however, the number two phone manufacturer in the world, right behind Samsung (and ahead of Apple). This ranking is in serious jeopardy because of a recent ban imposed by the Trump administration on the Chinese manufacturer.
In response to alleged intellectual espionage from China, the United States disallowed American telecommunications companies from using Chinese hardware. As a result, Google cut off Android support for Huawei manufactured phones. This means that any phone from the company will no longer support mainstay apps like Google Maps.
Huawei and Europe
The effect is not limited to consumers in the United States. Huawei experienced some of its biggest growth in Europe. Across the continent, that growth is now threatened. Huawei phones are relatively scarce on the American mainland, but the company counts on European countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece for much of its current business. The EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region accounted for 28% of revenues at Huawei in 2018.
Vodafone and EE, two large British carriers, stated that they would no longer offer phones from Huawei to 5G customers. The same happened in Japan – two of the largest mobile carriers in the nation have put a delay on a new Huawei smart phone release.
What This Means for US Marketing
Experts are predicting that marketing for Huawei in the US will suffer. The Americas account for only 7% of Huawei’s total business. Devices that use Android will slowly deteriorate because they will not be able to reach upgrades as they come. Customers who are looking for a handset device are not likely to purchase one that does not have the ability to reach YouTube, Gmail, Google Play or Google Maps.
Even as the low cost alternative to expensive Samsung and Apple phones, American customers are not likely to choose a Huawei without these basic functionalities. Experts claim that Hauwei’s audience in Europe will dwindle along with the audience in the Americas. The US is seen as the leader in culture, and if Americans say that Huawei phones are unpopular, Europeans are likely to follow suit.
Huawei in the Professional Market
Huawei does have a chance to continue making sales in the US, some experts say. The solution is a pivot away from being the low cost alternative to a niche brand for professionals. In China, many Huawei clients stick with the brand not because of its expandability, but because of its built in hardware.
The camera, many people say, is the saving grace of the Huawei brand.
High end Huawei phones are known to have some of the best cameras in the world, cameras with proprietary technology that Apple and Samsung have been trying to copy for many iterations. They seem to fall short in the eyes of some consumers. If Hauwei could somehow make this known to American and European consumers, say industry watchdogs, they could ride out the current storm of sanctions with a bit less to worry about.
Overall, the US can probably expect to see even less of Huawei in advertisements. The company will probably begin any initiative it has in Europe and eventually expand the successful efforts to the United States. In the meantime, expect Samsung, Apple and friends to take advantage of the hole in the market with even more ads and product placement.