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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Huawei eyes 100% revenue growth in Middle East and Africa in H2

The world’s second largest seller of smart phones saw regional shipments grow 76 per cent in the first half

“Globally they have announced that we are number two now, but we attained the number two position in the region a long time back,” said Gene Jiao, president of Huawei CBG, Middle East and Africa. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National
“Globally they have announced that we are number two now, but we attained the number two position in the region a long time back,” said Gene Jiao, president of Huawei CBG, Middle East and Africa. Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National

Huawei is forecasting a 100 per cent year-on-year revenue growth for its Middle East and Africa consumer business division in the second half of the year as the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker seeks to increase its market share in the Arabian Gulf.

The Chinese smartphone vendor’s MEA shipments grew 76 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2018, while revenue surged 100 per cent, Gene Jiao, president of Huawei Consumer Business Group in MEA told The National. The executive, who declined to give exact figures, said he is "confident" Huawei will achieve a similar performance in the second half.

“We are confident of repeating a similar performance in the second half of this year. Globally, they [International Data Corporation] have announced that we are number two now, but we attained the number two position in the region a long time back,” Mr Jiao said. “We are surpassing our annual targets for the last three years. Huawei CBG’s market share in MEA is around 21 per cent, while in Dubai it is 20 per cent.”

Sales for Huawei overtook US smartphone giant Apple in the second quarter of 2018 to become the number two smartphone vendor globally for the first time, just behind Korea’s Samsung, according to IDC. Huawei accounted for 15.8 per cent of the market share ahead of Apple’s 12.1 per cent.

In the United States and Australia, though, Huawei is facing accusations from lawmakers who argue that its products are used for Chinese espionage, an allegation the company has denied.

Mr Jiao declined to comment on the impact of these allegations on its regional market share.

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In terms of volume, Huawei’s best performing markets in MEA are Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, but Mr Jiao said it is more focused on GCC states which are the biggest consumers of high-end smartphones.

“In Lebanon, our market share is close to 50 per cent. But I see more potential in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the whole GCC region,” he said. “In these markets, high-end phones are doing really well and we are investing intensively because we are confident about our products. Especially in the UAE, which is a very future-oriented country and Dubai is one of the best demonstration windows for the retail [sector].”

Following the global trend of experience stores, Huawei is planning to strengthen its presence in this segment by opening seven such stores in MEA by the end of 2018. “We have earmarked sufficient budget; it will be much more than a million dollars,” Mr Jiao said.

Huawei has only one experience store in the MEA region in Dubai and there are plans to upgrade it soon. Out of the seven new stores, three will be launched in the UAE.

“Right now, shops are not offering any experience, they are just demonstration stores. So customers are visiting a store only once or twice in a year,” he said.

Huawei also wants to boost its wearables business in the region after posting a 147 per cent year-on-year growth in global wearables shipments in the first half of this year, making them the world’s number four vendor in this segment, Mr Jiao said.