Chinese telecom giant Huawei plans a global expansion into computers, it said on Tuesday, posing a fresh challenge to established PC players in a market that has suffered two years of falling sales volumes and pressure on margins.
At a news conference in Berlin, the Shenzhen-based company introduced its first line-up of three personal computer models, including a 15.6-inch screen notebook, a 2-in-1 tablet and notebook hybrid and an ultra slim, metallic 13-inch notebook.
Initially, Huawei plans to target the premium-priced consumer market, competing with Lenovo, HP and Dell, which together sell more than 50 percent of all PCs. To a lesser extent, it will also go up against Apple’s high-end, but shrinking, Mac computer business.
Huawei’s Matebook X is a fanless notebook with splash-proof screen and combined fingerprint sign-on and power button, priced between EUR 1,399 and 1,699 ($1,570-$1,900 or roughly Rs. 1,01,400-Rs. 1,23,200). Its Matebook E 2-in-1 hybrid will run from EUR 999 to 1,299 (roughly Rs. 72,400-Rs. 94,200) while the Matebook D with 15.6-inch display is priced at EUR 799 to 999 (roughly Rs. 58,000-Rs. 72,400), it said.
Overall, PC market sales volumes dropped 8.3 percent in 2015 and a further 3.7 percent in 2016, according to research firm Gartner, which has predicted a flat outcome this year and increasing market consolidation through 2020.
“From Huawei’s perspective, we see opportunities in the PC market’s decline,” Cheng Lei, senior marketing manager for the PC business, said in a phone interview of the cost-savings and design and manufacturing benefits it gets from its smartphone business.
Huawei, the world’s top maker of wireless and fixed-line telecom equipment, emerged two years ago as the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker after Samsung and Apple, displacing Lenovo, which remains focused on its computer business.
Huawei’s new PCs all run seventh generation Intel microprocessors, Microsoft Windows 10 software and in-house developed software to automate data transfers between Huawei smartphones and its new computer models, Lei said.
Huawei said it aimed to offer the new PCs in 12 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East in early June.
On Monday, HP, the No.2 PC maker behind China’s Lenovo and ahead of No.3 Dell, introduced three new consumer models with mostly similar hardware specifications that boasted short-term pricing discounts and a bundle of popular third-party software.