Huawei’s network infrastructure business is effectively dead in the UK, but a £10 million investment in the UK high street is a reminder its consumer unit is still alive.
In recent weeks, the headlines have been dominated by the UK decision to ban Huawei 5G equipment in network infrastructure, however some might have forgotten the Chinese firm also has a substantial smartphone presence in the country. Huawei is the second most popular smartphone brand worldwide, and UK consumers have shown an interest in the devices.
Today’s announcement will see £10 million directed towards the creation of three experience centres, two in London and one in Manchester, to be opened in 2021. Elsewhere around Europe, Huawei has opened stores in Madrid, Barcelona and Paris in recent years.
“We are excited to be making this strong commitment to the UK, and to be coming to the High Street to deliver our innovative new devices and experiences direct to the millions of people who own and love our products,” said Anson Zhang, MD of Huawei’s UK Consumer Business Group.
“The opening of our new Huawei Experience Stores and Service Centres follows the strong growth of our UK consumer business in recent years and shows the confidence we have in our future here. We know that millions of people here in the UK love our products and we’re delighted we will now have these new high street spaces where we can interact with our owners in a more personal way.”
While US sanctions and bureaucratic hurdles have had a direct impact on the consumer business, it has been little more than passing glances to date. These devices will of course be affected by the damage inflicted to the semiconductor supply chain, however, governments are likely to be much less interested as devices are not critical infrastructure.
The most serious impact to this business unit has been the end of the relationship with Google’s Android. This has been problematic, however it forced Huawei to accelerate plans to introduce its own operating system. This OS might not have the credibility of Android just yet, but Huawei has been spending billions to build a supporting ecosystem.
The creation of experience centres seems to lean on the Apple engagement strategy. The iPhone creator has cultivated brand loyalty and customer engagement for years through these centres, allowing customers to hold and experience products before parting with monthly salaries. It also makes Apple more than a device manufacturer, creating a story alongside the pretty phones.
Telecoms. (2020, July 20). Huawei announces £10mn investment for UK high street (RSS). Retrieved from https://telecoms.com/505652/huawei-announces-10mn-investment-for-uk-high-street/