Competition with Samsung, affordable folding smartphones and streaming services: An interview with Kevin Ho, President, Handset Business, Huawei CBG

Whilst we were in Paris recently for the Huawei P30 Series launch, we had some time with Kevin Ho, President, Handset Business, Huawei CBG to discuss the key differences between the “P” and “Mate” Series, the foldable technology of the Mate X and whether we can see it become more affordable as well as being the third largest seller of smartphones in the world and if we can see the tech company expand their streaming services outside of China.

NB: Due to some language barrier issues and the need for occasional intervention from interpreters, there are sentence and grammar structure issues.

The Mate 20 Series focused on photography as well, have the lines been blurred between the P series and the Mate series? Can the two series still be differentiated between?

Yeah, we have the P series and the Mate Series. The P is our flagship. Both models have big advantages for the consumers. Whilst the Mate series now has excellent cameras as well, when you compare to the P20 Pro which is almost similar [sic]. If we compare with the P30 Pro, we have dramatically increased from the P20 Pro. So that means even though we have two brackets, we will put the leading technology on the camera and on the browser we are putting in the P series. For the Mate series, we are always using the leading technology. We always have the new chipset on the Mate series with powerful performance, leading with the new semi-conductor technology on the Mate series as well as features like the 3D unlock.

Do you think the foldable technology will come to the P Series at some point in the future?

In our portfolio we have the P Series and Mate Series, the retail price is always around a certain level – $700-1000 Euros, this is mass-market for our flagship. For the foldable, Mate X this year, it will be double the price. I would like to say the foldable, the foldable will take a higher slot on the smartphone market. Anything is possible. If they can have foldable for lower the cost, then maybe.

Last year Huawei was only 86 million units short of Samsung, do you think it will be possible to out-sell them this year?

Actually, I do not pay a lot of attention on the takeovers of others. The most important thing I care about is the consumer experience on the smartphone. Last year we shipped 300 million smartphone units, we are actually in the top 3 smartphone companies, we like to believe we can still improve the consumer experience with the P20 and P30 where we improved on the camera. I think in the past 10 years Huawei has improved a lot on cameras, I think this proves the case we really want to improve on the experience. With this technology, in a lot of the countries brand awareness has dramatically increased such as in Europe, UK, and especially in Germany. Step by step. This year we will still increase our shipment of smartphones. In the first two months of this year, we have quickly increased on the first two months of last year.

With Apple expanding into more services, such as launching its own streaming service recently, does Huawei have any plans to do anything similar?

In China, we have already provided Huawei Music, Huawei Video and other services in China and step by step we would like to work with other providers. Country to country it will be different. We have a plan for the different regions, so our target is to provide excellent service but recreation is different from country to country. This year we are mainly focused on Asia-Pacific and Europe.

You have recently announced plans to open 15 stores in Europe. Do you feel it’s a late move from the brand considering stores by other smartphone companies have been around for so long?

I think if you are in the right direction you will never be late. We have worked together with our partners who opened various shops in Europe, this is our strategy. This is our target. I don’t think we are late.

Taken with the P30 Pro whilst in Paris using “Night Mode”.

Huawei P30 (from $1099 AUD) and P30 Pro (from $1599 AUD) will be released in Australia on Tuesday 16th April. Pre-orders (at https://www.huaweipromotions.com.au/) are now open and come with a complimentary Sonos One.

Stay tuned for our review of the P30 Pro as well as an extensive Paris-focused feature on the 10x Hybrid and 50x Digital, Quad Leica Camera System found in the newly announced P30 Pro.

 

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Lachlan Mitchell

Since 2011, Lachlan has been a staff writer, photographer and videographer for the AU review. He contributes across every vertical of the site and creates pieces that incorporate a mix of writing, photography and video with portraits, drone sequences, time-lapses and video interviews.

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