Fresh of the back of their blockbuster third-quarter results, Huawei is wasting no time establishing itself as a market contender in the high-end smartphone space.
According to a statement on the company’s public Weibo account, Huawei has hired a former Apple design executive to lead the interface design of Huawei’s smart devices. Abigail Brody served almost 10 years as a Creative Director at Apple where she consulted on the interface for the first iPhone as well as Mac Os X among other projects.
Huawei is making bold moves in the high-end smartphone arena, escalating their brand to the third largest vendor in China this quarter and beating out local superstar Xiaomi to become the top local vendor in the country.
Huawei’s third quarter results revealed a 63% year-on-year jump in sales to 27.4 million handsets, comparing to a 22% jump from Apple and a disappointing 6.1% from Samsung.
The company has now set their sights on the international competition, including Apple’s iPhone, which holds the second largest share of the Chinese market behind Samsung.
This September Huawei released their Mate S, a 5.5-inch high-end offering ambitiously priced in the same bracket as the iPhone 6. The price isn’t the only competing feature. Huawei launched the Mate S with Force Touch, a feature similar to Apple’s which was released just one week later.
While the Mate S is made up of solid hardware specs, its interface received mixed reviews. The company revealed that it is in the process of establishing an R&D centre in Silicon Valley, hoping to improve UI design.
A handful of Chinese vendors have made a play for the high-end market recently, as overall smartphone sales slump and companies seek to increase their brand power overseas. Xiaomi’s top-tier flagships (still priced well below other premium offerings) performed relatively poorly compared to their budget offerings, the later of which drove their growth this year.
ZTE, who compete with Huawei in the telecoms and white label device sectors, have also made a strong bid for the top-tier market in 2015 with the release of their Axon series. The company has aggressively marketing their phones in the U.S. following a rebranding in the late 2014.