Huawei says it isn’t giving up on the US market anytime soon

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

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.

Comments

They can always sell phones at a lemonade stand. No carrier will touch them and that’s a good thing.

You obliviously enjoy being kidnapped by carriers. Stockholm syndrome?

Huawei has been selling pre-paid phone in the USA for a decade now. If they wanted to spy, they would target those people as nobody ever bother to do a deep dive review for them. Chances of spyware being notice on flagship are pretty high but not for those low end phone.

This is an easy problem to fix:
1. Kiss Trump’s ass publicly.
2. Spend a lot of money at his properties.
3. Create a sub-brand with an American name
4. Put out a press release that where you open an American office, preferably in a Trump-branded building, and hire a hundred people to do nothing, promising thousands of jobs that you know you’ll never deliver.
5. Profit!

Should say "Open a new American office."

There is only one solution to Huawei’s problem: Allow the NSA into their hardware and they’ll get given a go-ahead for sales.

Fair point.

You mean cooperate with NSA to spy on the Americans?

That would probably work with Donald Trump. He loves being praised above everything else.

This problem occurred for Huawei LONG before Trump became president. Don’t be stupid.

The Trump haters can’t help themsevles.

This company has a long history of IP theft. If they actually got any market, they would be sued to death here.

This kind of sad. The tablet with the best value and performance that I’ve ever experienced was a Huawei. This problem seems to be, as best I can understand, mostly a result of Huawei being in part owned by the military arm of the Chinese communist party, or something like that. Huawei can’t really expect that the U.S. government would be OK with directly funding Chinese communism each time that one of our citizens buys a Huawei device. If they’re really serious about the U.S. market, they should simply to fix their ownership problem to normalize their financial affairs.

It’s not owned by the Chinese military, it was founded by a retired military telecom engineer. It’s ownership is private but it’s spread across a bunch of entities, though of course in China many of these entities are tied to the government as well. In addition because China basically heavily censors their internet and Huawei is one of two major manufacturers of the routers that allow that censorship the government has an office in Huawei’s headquarters to help run the great firewall. Which is why the US government is very suspicious of Huawei.

So long story short it’s not owned by the Chinese military, it just has a lot of close relationships with the Chinese government that make people very uncomfortable

As long as Amazon or Newegg still sells them, then not an issue for me personally. Business wise it’s not good for limited visibility. If you need to import them, then I wouldn’t go through that effort.

Yet you’d still buy one? Wow.

Forget about it.

All the pro-Huawei reports here on Verge, starting to make me wonder who owns this web site…

The thing is we have to consider at the market as a whole because without Huawei, Oppo, and other brands that are giants in the rest of the world, US is going to miss a lot in terms of relevance and i believe it is already the third market behind China and India.

Richard Yu is open to a discussion while on the other hands CIA and NSA are not, they are just saying "don’t buy their phones, period": retailers and mobile carriers behaviour is just a consequence.

This is simply not fair, China accepted Apple as long as they follow gov’s rules, you should do the same.

Which is almost impossible to verify. How do you check if a phone company contains spyware on behalf of a government ? It can be really hard to track

You can check if their phones contains spyware, you don’t need to verify if those exist for government purposes.

But honestly i don’t think that’s the reason, chinese phones are constantly tested for those things we all know which phones contain spyware (even from popular brand such as Xiaomi) and it is not the case for Huawei for now. (it could be in the future though)

I think NSA and CIA fear that a chinese company, with such close relationships with the chinese government can dominate the US market, that’s part of the reason mobile carriers still maintain such power. With that you can control which foreign company is allowed to sell their phones in your country.

If you’re a government official or a corporate executive, OK — but otherwise I don’t think Beijing really gives a damn about your porn, or whatever.

If your phone contain a backdoor, you become dangerous for every network you’re in. So your employer, etc etc are in a less secure environment because of that

A big, baseless if. Your entire premise is also shattered by the advent of Bring Your Own Device policies which have now pervaded almost all of American corporate culture. Otherwise, people would still be walking around with Blackberries.

Be more concerned where facebook and ATT sends your data….

The only real way would be to sell them with free and open source software only. Just sayin’ ahah

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