Over recent years, we’ve seen a major push by Chinese manufacturers to conquer smartphone market share. Huawei and OnePlus have been two of the more successful of late, and their market strategies are very much aligned. For 2018, both companies have eyes set on the US territory with hope to spread influence to the western hemisphere. Huawei’s initial attempt failed miserably, but the company hasn’t given up. The US market, one of the largest for smartphones, is more saturated than ever with offerings from brands with brand power and loyal followings.
US expansion by Chinese smartphone manufacturers began with Huawei in January, who was believed to have come to terms with AT&T to sell its first smartphone in the US, the Mate 10 Pro flagship. For governmental reasons, Huawei and AT&T couldn’t get a deal done, and it was the most surprising news that hit during CES 2018. Just a few weeks later, rumors that Verizon was working with Huawei became of plenty. But the US carrier later confirmed that it would not sell a Huawei smartphone any time soon.
Huawei isn’t done yet, in fact it has partnered with several key retailers in the US to sell Mate 10 Pro unlocked. Ironically, the unlocked version will work on certain US carriers. There’s also a chance Huawei will sell other models unlocked later this year. All is being done to help secure second place in the global smartphone market share race.
Huawei is an unfamiliar name to Americans, and now that US carriers won’t give the company the push it needs, Huawei will have to do everything itself through heavy advertising and promotion. This will be no easy task, and will surely take time and a large sum of money. We give the company credit for not giving up, though tough challenges surely lie ahead. OnePlus, another Chinese smartphone OEM, indicated interest in expanding to the US as well in hope to achieve increased sales and greater market share. However, unlike Huawei, it’s not in any rush. The company believes it has what it takes to compete in the saturated consumer market that is the duopoly led by Samsung and Apple. Many have tried to dethrone the two, but nobody has succeeded even the slightest, as Galaxy and iPhone continue to represent almost the entire US smartphone market.
What Huawei and OnePlus do bring to the table is a core competency in price. Samsung and Apple have priced their phones in the beholds of the $900 range, far higher than the $500 or $600 range OnePlus and Huawei compete in. This is a major selling point considering Huawei and OnePlus’ selections are almost as good as Samsung and Apple’s offerings. But people in America want brand recognition, something Huawei and OnePlus lack in comparison to Samsung and Apple on US turf. The two Chinese OEMs have gained popularity thanks to the premium mid-range market segment, which makes up the largest population of cell phone buyers back home. But Americans are okay with spending some extra money to get what they desire.
It’ll be interesting to see how Huawei and OnePlus position themselves to do well when the time comes. That time is almost here, as this week we saw Huawei bring its Mate 10 Pro stateside and OnePlus its Lava Red OnePlus 5T.
This brings us to our poll of the week. Will Chinese OEMs eventually be able to penetrate the US smartphone market? Will they compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple? Who has better odds? Would you consider replacing a high-end Galaxy or iPhone with Huawei or OnePlus’ latest and greatest? Drop a comment letting us know and be sure to vote in our weekly poll down below. The poll will remain open all week and we look forward to hearing your response.
Below are the major stories from this week.