Huawei Technologies’ mobile business chief Richard Yu Chengdong probably breathed a sigh of relief after Apple unveiled its new iPhones.
At least that was how most social-media users who left comments interpreted a posting by Yu after Apple’s annual iPhone showcase held in Cupertino, California. In a post at 3:01am on Thursday to his 6.5 million followers on microblog Weibo, Yu said rather cryptically: “no problem (for us) now, see you all in London Oct. 16.”
Apple announced three new iPhone models, with the entry-level iPhone XR starting at US$749 and the mid-range iPhone XS at US$999, while the iPhone XS Max with a 6.5-inch screen starts at US$1,099 and goes all the way up to US$1,449 for the top specifications. That represents the most expensive iPhone ever released by Apple, a point that was seized on by netizens who posted their reactions to the product launch.
“This product, this pricing … the most happy person today must be Yu,” Weibo user Chengshuhuakai wrote in a comment on Yu’s account.
Whatever the views, the reaction on both Yu and netizens underscore the intense competition in the smartphone industry, particularly in China, where Huawei leads in shipments but at a lower price segment than Apple.
Chinese smartphone brands have chipped away at Apple’s market share in China by introducing feature-laden models, but are still striving to convince consumers to shell out top dollar and enshrine their brands with the same premium cachet reserved for the iPhone.
Huawei overtook Apple in global smartphone sales for the first time in the second quarter, and will introduce its flagship Huawei Mate 20 series on October 16. Shenzhen-based Huawei has stated its aim of shipping 200 million handsets to both domestic and global markets in 2018, after delivering 100 million phones as of July 18, the fastest pace of shipments the Chinese company has seen in years. The performance has been partly due to sales of its P20 series and strong sales of its budget brand Honor.
Huawei and Honor expanded their combined China market share to a record 27 per cent in the three months to June, up from 21 per cent during the same period a year ago, marking the biggest share for any smartphone vendor in China since the second quarter of 2011, Canalys said in an earlier report released in July.
The Apple event and new iPhone models were trending on Weibo Thursday morning. The high price of the models was often commented on in postings.
“The biggest highlight of Apple this year – the price,” a Weibo user with the name UnqualifiedZombie wrote. Another user named Wangde_GretA quipped, “After taking a look at the prices, hmm, I can finally make myself useful in the China-US trade war. I will resolutely boycott American products!”
While many Huawei fans were supportive of Yu’s posting, those less impressed said he is trying to piggyback on the Apple event, as Weibo user Ruya Suihe Sunxiaochuan wrote.
And one user pointedly asked Yu: “Would Apple CEO Tim Cook stay up in the middle of the night to watch Huawei’s smartphone launch?”
This article This is what Huawei’s mobile chief tweeted after the Apple iPhone unveil first appeared on South China Morning Post
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