Huawei held its annual European Innovation Day on 7 November 2018, in Rome. The event was followed up by the Eco-Connect Europe conference on 8-9 November, which is Huawei's flagship event in Europe, where it showcases some of its latest technologies and partner projects.
As Europe prepares for its deployment of the 5G network, Huawei has already set the stage for its first line of compatible devices with the widely anticipated new generation of mobile communication. During an exclusive interview at the annual Huawei Innovation Day on 7 November 2018, in Rome, Vincent Pang, President of Huawei in Western Europe, announced its intention to launch its first 5G smartphone next year.
The phone is expected to be formally presented in the next edition of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2019, and will be made available to the public during the third quarter of 2019. Pang also hinted that this model may be the world’s first foldable smartphone.
Huawei has seen substantial growth and success in its consumer division in Europe this year, with the launch of its most recent flagship devices, the P20 Pro and Mate 20 models.
According to analytics firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Huawei overtook Apple earlier this year to now become the second largest smartphone seller in the world, after Samsung, now for two consecutive quarters.
In Q3, 2018, Huawei shipped 52 million handsets and grabbed 14.6% global market share, compared to 46.9 million handsets (Apple) and 72.2 million handsets (Samsung).
Also present at the event, Walter Ji, President of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, emphasized that while we are yet to know which countries will be the first in Europe to provide 5G solutions to consumers, the whole of Europe appears committed to provide a speedy deployment of the 5G network to its citizens.
Ji also emphasized that besides 5G technology and innovative design revolutions such as foldable technology, Huawei has invested heavily into battery and photo technology. Surveys and feedback from consumers suggest these are key areas that consumers care about, and Ji believes this is a big reason for Huawei’s recent success and growth, having focused heavily on those in its most recent product offering.
Ji also added that Huawei invests heavily into virtual reality and artificial intelligence, with technology such as machine learning, which can for example be applied to continuously improve your photography skills, and in many other areas too.
This year, spending on R&D by Huawei will be increased to 13 – 18 billion EUR, or 14.9% of its total revenue, making it one of the largest private company investors in research and development in the world.