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Huawei, everyone’s favorite cheap smartphone maker, is taking over.
The company has risen above the plummeting RIM and Nokia to become the third-largest smartphone maker in the world, reports the Wall Street Journal. Huawei shipped 10.8 million phones last quarter, allowing it to capture five percent of the global market.
While this is big news for the company, it comes with some major caveats.
For one, most of Huawei’s success has come from China — its home turf — and regions like Latin America, where consumers are particularly receptive to cheap phones. These are markets where Huawei has been the most nimble.
The same can’t be said for the U.S., where Huawei’s marketshare has actually decreased. In the fall of 2011, Huawei held 3.5 percent of the market. A year later, that share was down to 2.9 percent, according to research firm IDC.
For the root of the problem, blame branding. Huawei may be able to sell the world cheap phones, but for American consumers, it’s a one-trick pony: People are buying Huawei’s devices because they’re cheap, not because they’re overly fond of what Huawei stands for. It also doesn’t help that some Americans pronounce the company’s name “Hawaii.”
Adding to Huawei’s Yankee problems are American lawmakers, who are convinced that Huawei is in bed with the Chinese government. While Huawei has tried its best to counter the claims, it’s clear that the U.S. government is far from renouncing its case. This is a problem that won’t be going away anytime soon.