Huawei Technologies, a major player global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions, has of recent penetrated the mobile phones market in Botswana especially smartphones. Botswana market is dominated by Nokia and Samsung, and includes a number of devices from Motorola; LG and even BlackBerry. Huawei phones have become a new hit in the market.
The Shenzhen-based ICT Company has partnered with Mascom Wireless in servicing local customers. The 2014 annual report which was released on the 31st of March 2015 shows that Overall Group revenue reached USD46.5 billion, an increase of 20.6% from 2013, and Group net profit reached USD4.5 billion, up 32.7% year on year. The Patriot on Sunday caught up with its Public Relations and Government Affairs Manager Botswana Office, Xu Liang (Cyril Xu) in an exclusive interview.
When did your company open its Botswana offices?
Huawei entered Botswana market in 1998. It established the local company, Huawei Technologies Botswana (PTY) Ltd in 2005. Now we have had a presence of 17 years and accumulated rich experience of the Botswana ICT environment.
What is Huawei Technologies and its core business areas?
Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider with the vision of building a better connected world. Huawei’s consists of three major groups, namely the carrier network business group, enterprise business group and consumer business group. Actually, carrier network business has always been Huawei’s major business since its inception in 1987. Huawei will continue to focus on its pipeline business, which is the carrier business. In recent years, Huawei’s enterprise business and consumer business have witnessed extraordinary growth. In 2014 our carrier business grew by 15%, enterprise grew by 27% and consumer business by 32%. Our total revenue in 2014 registered US$46 billion.
In 2014 the main drivers of the growth in carrier business were steady increase in 3G investment and the jump in 4G investments across the globe. By the way, Huawei is the major partner of Mascom for the launch of its 4G network here in Botswana. Huawei has established an end to end ICT solutions portfolio that gives customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing.
Huawei‘s 170 000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprise and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services have been deployed in over 170 countries and regions, serving more than one third of the world’s population.
Will your company list on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)?
To get listed or not is a capital and commercial strategy. Huawei will select the model that suits the company best in different times. In the next 5 to 10 years, Huawei has no intention to get listed. So here in Botswana, we do not have a plan to register on the stock market. Our main focus will be internal reform to make Huawei an enterprise that meets the requirements of the modern market. Huawei is 100% owned by its employees. We have more than 80,000 employees participating in the employee shareholding programme. Though we are not listed, we have always strived to be an open and transparent company. Our annual report is audited by KPMG independently. Our senior leaders have often taken opportunities to make public speeches, take media interviews to respond to enquiries from the public. In terms of market share, Huawei has become the leading global ICT solutions provider. Here in Botswana, our major partners include BTCL, Bofinet and Mascom.
How many employees do you have in Botswana?
Of our 60 employees here, 40 are local citizens, marking a localisation rate of more than 60%. Huawei is dedicated to ICT knowledge and skills transfer to the local society and growth together with Botswana. Huawei Botswana has always attached great importance to enabling, training and skill sharing with local employees, resulting in an increasing localisation rate. Huawei’s professional 800+ engineers in the Southern and Eastern African region guarantee the stable and efficient operation of Huawei Botswana.
Recently the company penetrated the mobile phones market in Botswana by offering smartphones. How is the response from the consumers?
So far there is an overwhelming interest in our mobile phone devices so much that we have recently launched partnership with Cell City, Botswana’s biggest cellphone retail store to increase our footprint in this market and also to supply the ever increasing demand of our affordable and cutting edge devices. These devices, accessories and support are now available country wide for each and every Motswana to enjoy.
What makes your smartphones sell on the face of stiff competition in the market?
One of our core competitiveness comes from our constant Research and Development (R&D). Huawei has over 70, 000 products and solution R&D employees, comprising more than 45% of our total workforce worldwide. We have set up 16 R&D centres in countries that include Germany, Sweden, the US, France, Italy, Russia, India and China. To gain a distinctive competitive edge in the future, we have set up the 2012 laboratories, which function as the innovation, research and platform technology development arm of the company. Huawei has cumulatively spent more than P200 billion on R&D over the last decade. With our strength in R&D and innovation and as the industry frontrunner, Huawei has a profound understanding of the customer’s needs and we have always strived to meet customers’ requirement. We have always provided our customers with state of the art products and solutions and won customer support and loyalty.
You recently introduced the Huawei Watch, when will it be launched in Botswana and how is it doing globally?
Huawei continues to break new ground in the wearables space by unveiling the Huawei watch, powered by Android Wear at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015. It is the first smart watch in the Huawei wearable family. Huawei is confident that its first smart watch will achieve excellent scores despite fierce competition from other vendors. Huawei Botswana will inform the public the moment our smart watch becomes available here.
About Huawei Consumer BG
As one of the Huawei’s three business groups, Huawei Consumer BG offers mobile phones, mobile broadband (MBB) devices and home devices. Huawei Consumer BG is dedicated to bringing the latest technology to consumers, offering a world of possibilities, creating extraordinary experience and realising dreams for people everywhere. Consumer business is our newest business group, but it is growing very fast. According to IDC, Huawei was ranked third in the global smartphone shipments in 2014, with 73.6 million smartphone units. Until now, Huawei has not opened any stores to sell their products like the Huawei smartphones, tablets, wrist watches and dongles. But we plan to open the first Huawei flagship store in 2015. According to the latest annual report of the company BG revenue increased by 32.6% to CNY75.1 billion (USD12 billion), due to the growing consumer demand for smartphones and particularly strong growth in emerging markets which include Botswana.
About their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSP)
Huawei is committed to its corporate social responsibilities (CSR) by giving back to the communities. Through a series of CSR events including sponsoring ICT events, donation of computers and pads, establishing computer labs in remote areas of Botswana, Huawei Botswana has demonstrated its commitment as a responsible corporate citizen.