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Huawei wants to be telepresence king

Dethroning Cisco and massive domestic retail rollout to chase US$100b revenue goal

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Chinese telecoms and handset giant Huawei has its sights on dominating yet more markets, with plans to leapfrog Cisco to top spot in the video conferencing space in three years and to expand its retail presence in thousands of domestic bricks and mortar stores to boost handset sales.

Huawei’s sales of telepresence kit doubled last year to reach around $200m (£123.3m), placing the company second with a market share of around 20 per cent, Huawei Enterprise GM Li Jun told Bloomberg.

By contrast, arch rival Cisco is in the lead with half of the market and revenue of around $900m (£554.6m).

Video conferencing is just one way Huawei is trying to expand beyond its core business of telecoms infrastructure and realise its goal of tripling revenue to $100bn (£61.6bn) by 2021.

Another is its handset business.

Huawei is currently ranked number six in the world but is looking to grow that part of the business to rival its revenues from flogging networking kit. This is especially important given Huawei is finding it tough to make any money from the latter in the US or Australia, where national security concerns over the Chinese firm have yet to be allayed.

With that in mind, Huawei is planning to tap the huge domestic market by rolling out branded counters in around 4,000 retail locations across China in stores run by big name local players Suning, Gome and D.Phone, according to China Daily.

It will also be launching some flagship stores of its own in tier-one cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with over 4,000 retail staff ready to man the counters across the People’s Republic.

Dana Cooperson, VP network infrastructure at analyst Ovum, told The Reg that the market opportunities are there for it to reach its ambitious $100bn revenue target.

“Huawei is an amazing learning organisation. They constantly improve across multiple dimensions. They hire a lot of very good people all over the world. They are no longer the ‘follower’ they once were,” she added.

“If you’re asking if they are capable of being an Apple, it’s doubtful. But I do think they have an opportunity to innovate around areas such as connecting the network to the device and providing a superior customer experience. Very few vendors have the opportunity to do this.”

Huawei couldn’t immediately be reached to elaborate on its plans. ®

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