Huawei head of consumers business group for MENA talked to NetMag at length about his company vision for the region he is heading, the Pakistani market and what growth he foresees in the future, the issues of Gray traffic and above all what role R&D has played in company growth.
Mr Gene Jiao During President of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East & Africa
1: First of all, guide us upon how differently are the business strategies of Huawei Consumer Business Group made for a challenging market environment in countries like Pakistan?
Huawei’s most innovative products with the most economical prices are provided to Pakistan since it is one of the major markets in the Middle Eastern and African region. Keeping in mind that Pakistan is mainly a price conscious market, we always have to think one hand before launching any product here. However, consumers these days have evolved and they know what they are buying. With consumers knowing that Huawei’s competitors are over-charging for flagship products in terms of specs and features, the company has started to emphasize greatly on flagship models.
2: How do you think that Huawei is unique from its competitors?
Ans. The uniqueness of Huawei as a technology firm comes with the investment in our Research and Development Department (R&D). We are already making money from our technologically advanced products, however, we believe in looking forward to the future and work in the R&D department to manufacture more innovative products.
Huawei focuses on three domains that include fully connected networks, intelligent computing, and device innovation. Hence, we continue to invest in products, technologies, basic research, engineering capability improvement, technical standards, and industry ecosystems.
Mr Jiao President of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East & Africa and Mr Blue King Country General Manager Huawei Pakistan During the Interview
3: Since most of the Huawei’s key executives all over the world are also stakeholders in the company. Is this an inspirational remedy to update the company’s carrier?
Ans. What makes Huawei the most unique business model is that it is an employee-owned company. We assess employees and choose managers based on their skills, as well as the extent of their responsibilities. Our employees are provided with a global development platform, giving young team members the opportunity to withhold greater responsibilities and further enhance their careers.
4: With Huawei being the third largest smartphone maker in the world, what challenges does the company in this industry face?
Ans. With every day having a new smartphone in the market, the competition seems to rise. However, Huawei continues to hold the number three position despite the growing tough competition from Chinese players such as OPPO and Vivo. Meanwhile, in Q2 2018 we have successfully managed to surpass Apple to clinch the No. 2 spot with the popular sales of P20 Series smartphones and other midrange devices.
On the other hand, recent aspirations for breaking into the U.S. market are on hold as both AT&T and Verizon recently cut ties to bring Huawei flagships to the world’s third largest market for smartphones — U.S. However, in other major Asian markets like India, we are determined to outrank competitors but other Chinese smartphone companies like Xiaomi are working tremendously well there.
Mr Osama Shaukat Manager PR Huawei Pakistan introducing Mr Jiao with the Media Persons
5: Since Huawei has brought us exceptionally innovative smartphones like Mate 10 Pro and P20 Pro over the past years, what are the plans of Huawei for upcoming smartphone trends?
Ans. As you know that Huawei has managed to bring first of its kind, a triple camera smartphone – P20 Pro with elegant design and display, that, in the high-end flagship smartphones domain is yet to come. Similarly, last year, with the launch of Mate 10 Pro being the first smartphone that featured built-in Neural Processing Unit (NPU) or simply called AI-powered chipsets.
Similarly, with the help of mobile artificial intelligence tools, in the future, we will possibly bring smartphones with more innovative features. Huawei is also expecting to launch its first 5G supported handset next year.
6: With the rumours being that the smartphone industry will be more competitive with the launch of a foldable smartphone next year. Will Huawei be able to acquire that technology soon?
Ans. I have also heard rumours about such a device, but I cannot comment on when the device is launching or what would it look like.
7: We all are aware of the heavy taxes on mobile imports. What do you think about this matter and what solutions will you promote for the regulators in Pakistan?
Ans. We believe that having a positive business environment with the government is crucially important. Keeping this in mind, we agree and comply with the policies of the country’s regulators properly. However, no one can deny the fact that the less tax the government will impose on consumers, the more we will see economic and innovative products in the country.
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8: What is your stance on Huawei smartphones brought in Pakistan by means of smuggling or grey trafficking, and then sold publically?
Ans. As per the company’s knowledge, we have not come across any similar issue since there is not even a single Huawei device sold by illegal means in Pakistan or any other country in this region. I insist that you should recheck your sources that claim such info.
9: What else important points would you like to highlight about the company, in case we have missed something?
Ans. Well, as to conclude this discussion, I would like to say that here at Huawei, we are committed to translating leading technologies into better and more competitive products and solutions that help our customers succeed. Huawei has the ambition to support consumers in their digital transformation and lay the foundation of an intelligent world.
Mr Gene Jiao
President, Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East & Africa
Leading the development of the Huawei Consumer Business Group in the Middle East, Mr Gene Jiao oversees a large and multi-dimensional team, which has grown rapidly over the past several years. He took up his current role in May 2014 and during that time has been responsible for guiding brand strategy, enhancing distributor partnerships, service localization, and expanding the talent base of regional offices.
Prior to his current position in the Middle East, Gene was instrumental in the development of the Huawei Device brand in emerging markets within Latin America serving as Marketing and Solution Director of Huawei Device Latin America. He has been with Huawei since 2000 and has more than ten years of experience in the mobile device field across different geographies.
Gene Jiao holds a Bachelor’s degree in wireless telecommunication from Nanjing University of Science and Technology in China.]