Huawei shipped 138 million devices in 2014

Huawei's 7.8 percent increase in global smartphone sales has helped deliver the company a 30 percent sales revenue boost, up to $12.2 billion in 2014.

Chinese networking and mobile technology powerhouse Huawei shipped 138 million devices in 2014, including 75 million smartphones -- a 7.8 percent boost over the previous year's results.

The growth in product shipments helped deliver the Shenzhen-headquartered company a sales revenue increase of 30 percent year on year, to $12.2 billion.

This result was better than expected, with Huawei predicting earlier this month that its 2014 sales revenue would be up by around 20 percent from 2013, to at least 289 billion yuan ($46.29 billion).

Huawei became the world's third-biggest smartphone manufacturer last year, and although its legacy product portfolio has taken in much of the low-end mobile device market, the CEO of the company's Consumer Business Group (BG) Richard Yu said the latest results back up its strategy of increasing its focus on the mid to high end of the market.

"Our strategy of focusing on premium mid- to high-end products has borne fruit, with 2014 resulting in significant achievements in a number of areas, including product R&D, brand awareness, channel development, and growth in market share, which further consolidated our number three position in the global smartphone market," said Yu.

Huawei's Consumer BG is one of the company's three business groups. It takes care of its mobile phones, mobile broadband devices, and home devices.

The company claims that its shipment contribution of mid- to high-end smartphones rose to 18 percent in 2014, with its Consumer BG premium flagship product, the Huawei P7, seeing global shipments of 4 million units only six months after it was launched in May.

Additionally, the company said that its Mate7 device has been "overwhelmingly" well received among business executives in all markets, and has shipped over 2 million units only three months since its launch in September last year.

The company has shifted its gaze to the higher end of the market as fellow Chinese low-end players such as Xiaomi rapidly increase market share in China and further afield.

Among Huawei's best-performing products in 2014 was its "Honor" brand, unveiled last year, which the company said delivered solid performance in 2014.

Shipments of Honor devices reached 20 million units, with Honor 3C series shipping more than 8 million units, the Honor 3X series over 4 million units, and the Honor 6 over 3 million units.

The company said that by the end of 2014, the Honor brand had established a presence in more than 60 countries and regions around the world, allowing Huawei to challenge mobile players in other areas of the market that are otherwise out of its reach.

Huawei Consumer BG has been focusing on mid- to high-end premium devices since 2012, and the Honor brand strategy has allowed the company to expand into both the low and high ends of the market.

"The dual Huawei and Honor brand strategy has proven to be highly successful, creating synergies, which have resulted in raising brand awareness and market share of the Huawei Consumer BG as a whole," said Huawei Consumer BG vice-president of marketing Shao Yang. "The Huawei brand has consolidated its leading position in mid- to high-end smartphone market, while the Honor brand has established itself as a bold and popular brand among digital native consumers."

Looking forward, the company expects 2015 to be a year of strategic deployment for Huawei Consumer BG, in which it will leverage the opportunities in the Internet of Things and car networking in order "to achieve breakthroughs in various business areas including products, brand, marketing, channel, retail, and e-commerce".

Huawei expects its Consumer BG division to focus on flagship products and brand marketing to establish its image as a symbol of high-quality products, while the Honor brand looks to replicate its successful online business model to overseas markets.

"Looking ahead, Huawei Consumer BG aims to sustain the growth momentum created in 2014 and further consolidate Huawei's leading position in the mid- to high-end smartphone market, with a 2015 shipment target of 100 million units," said Yu.

Huawei's rising interest in the upper end of the market comes as Apple -- a stalwart of the market's high end -- reveals that it may not be long before it begins selling more iPhones in China than in its home country of the United States.

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