In an email to CNET, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, Richard Yu, has said that the company isn’t pulling out of the US market, despite every major carrier refusing to sell its phones, and retailers like Best Buy recently dropping the brand.
“We are committed to the US market and to earning the trust of US consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation,” Yu told CNET in an email. “We would never compromise that trust.”
Earning that trust — with consumers, corporations, and government agencies alike — for Huawei will likely be an uphill battle as its faced several blows while trying to create inroads with the US market. Earlier this year, the heads of six US intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the NSA, warned against using products and services created by Huawei. The company, founded by a former engineer in China’s People’s Liberation Army, was previously sued by Cisco for stealing source code and has been described by US politicians as “effectively an arm of the Chinese government.”
Yu regards US warnings and security concerns as “groundless suspicions,” and “quite frankly unfair.” He states that Huawei employs more than 1,000 people in 13 US offices and says, “We welcome an open and transparent discussion if it is based on facts.”
In January, Huawei planned to launch its new Mate 10 Pro flagship in the US through AT&T, but the carrier pulled out of the deal at the last minute, reportedly due to political pressure. Verizon soon followed suit.
As far as retail support, Amazon continues to sell Huawei phones and devices (such as laptops and smartwatches), but Huawei recently lost Best Buy as a retail partner. Huawei was accused of asking people to write fake reviews for the Mate 10 Pro on Best Buy’s website in exchange for a chance to beta test the phone, but the company denies that this was the case. Best Buy hasn’t commented on why it stopped selling the devices.
“Even without the United States market, we’ll be number one in the world,” Yu said earlier this week after unveiling its latest P20 and P20 Pro smartphones. Though Huawei might not need the US, it still wants to compete in the market. “We recognize we are not a known brand in the US and we need to build our brand here,” Yu said to CNET. “Our first step is to win the trust of consumers.”
Correction, April 3rd, 5:00PM ET: The language referring to the alleged fake reviews posted to Best Buy’s website has been adjusted to indicate that Huawei denies the accusations.