Well here’s a surprise. Just as high end smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung start to come to terms with a ‘luxury’ smartphone market approaching saturation point, Huawei decide to move out of the only market still expanding – cheap smartphones. In a briefing at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business made head his intention to transition away from the low end.

“We are giving up the low end of the market. Many vendors are suffering. Only two vendors have had a good life: Apple and Samsung”, Yu said in the briefing, going on to state “If we sold more low-end phones, we could even double our shipments … but in the low-end market there is no margin”. In that same briefing Huawei said that total sales revenue for its consumer facing devices was up 30% to $12.2 billion in 2014. The new plan, moving away from the low end, hopes to find them pulling in $16 billion in revenue during 2015.

Average smartphone prices have been dropping over the last few years across both the high and low end, but there’s no doubt the companies that are doing well are doing so because they’re producing good phones at low price. The Moto E and G have found traction in emerging markets as well as the UK, and Xiaomi’s massive popularity is undoubtedly rooted in its low cost, high spec ethos. As such, it’s a little unclear how Huawei aim to reposition themselves within both their domestic and overseas markets.

Apple and Samsung are where they are through a mixture of quality, hype and multi-billions spent on advertising. Huawei, on the other hand, have struggled to find much love for their devices thus far and had a marketing budget of around $300 million. Compare that to Samsung who allocated around $13 billion for 2013’s advertising budget and you get an idea of the battle Huawei are going to be facing if they want some of that sweet high end action.

So, is this simply a case of Huawei coveting their neighbours ox? Most likely, but considering Huawei were the 3rd largest smartphone vendor in the world (behind both Apple and Samsung) their envy seems potentially misguided.

All that being said, with Huawei finally dropping their agonising ‘Ascend’ branding, and the forthcoming release of some high end beasts in 2015, just about anything is possible.

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Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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