Huawei pledged a major push in the European consumer sector, despite well-documented issues in its local network business, announcing plans to rapidly expand its retail footprint and continue to pump cash into R&D as it targets market leadership.
In a prepared video, Huawei president of consumer business group Europe Walter Ji (pictured) said he wanted to tell the “true story of Huawei in Europe” highlighting its record, scale of business and lofty future plans.
“We are much more European than most realise, we are already an integral part of the continent’s growth and success story,” he said, noting Huawei counts millions of device users; 23 research sites; and supports 14,000 direct and more than 200,000 indirect jobs in the region.
Ji also pointed to heavy investment in local start-ups, including those developing services for its AppGallery, and highlighted its position as the fifth-largest investor in industrial R&D in the European Union during 2019.
“We are proud of what we are doing in Europe and are committed to doing more,” the executive added, as he laid out a plan to drastically increase the scale of its retail footprint in major markets.
By the end of the year, Huawei aims to have flagship retail stores across France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany and the UK, along with 42 smaller experience stores.
During the session, Ji addressed several criticisms levelled at the company by detractors, emphasising its privacy and security credentials and outlining its response to a lack of access to Google software.
He stated AppGallery was the third-largest marketplace globally: with 5,000 new apps added every month, it is the “big new thing” rather than the “same old experience”. He also noted it was gaining traction for its Petal Search engine, a tool he stated was created in collaboration with European companies. “Europe is a major part of the next decade for Huawei and that’s why we are committed to be the market leader here,” he added.