Huawei: Don't call us cheap

Chinese networking vendor says it doesn't want to be perceived as a low-cost market competitor against the likes of Cisco Systems, noting that its server price points in China are comparable to that of IBM's.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor on

Huawei Technologies does not want to be seen as a vendor that competes purely on low cost, at least, in the server market, where it says its products come with a price tag that is comparable to its foreign competitors.

Against its rivals, namely Cisco Systems, the Chinese networking vendor had been seen to compete based on price points. This, however, was not an accurate reflection of its gameplay, said Redfox, Huawei's general manager of server product domain, who noted that the company did not want to be perceived as a low-price market competitor.

Speaking at a media briefing at Huawei Cloud Congress 2015 in Shanghai on Saturday, he said: "In China, our prices are equivalent to that of IBM's so [our pricing is] actually relatively high." Redfox added that price was just one of several key considerations in a customer's buying process.

"We believe low cost isn't the right competitive strategy for the server market. It should instead be about innovation, product performance, and quality. When customers want to test our products in oversea markets, they'll realise that," he said.

Citing Gartner market stats, Huawei said it ranked fourth over the past eight quarters in global server shipments, behind Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Lenovo. In China, it is the leading server vendor in the banking and public sectors according to unit shipments, according to Cody Wang, Huawei's general manager of mission critical server.

The Chinese vendor has earmarked 18 countries for global expansion, which were selected primarily based on their GDP. Noting that server shipment correlated closely to GDP, Redfox said the 18 markets were mostly developed countries with the exception of India, and together with China, they accounted for 75 percent of the worldwide server shipment.

He said he had set himself a "personal target" of pushing overseas sales to account for 50 percent of Huawei's server business by 2018, up from its current 20 percent. Some 70 percent of Huawei's total revenue currently are generated from outside China, he noted.

The vendor is pitching itself as a provider of IT infrastructure, software platforms, and enterprise cloud services based on an open source architecture -- in particular, the OpenStack Foundation, of which it is a Gold Member.

Huawei also is betting on strong collaboration with its partner network to drive its cloud strategy and innovation. Rotating CEO Eric Xu said: "In the coming years, Huawei will develop a leading cloud OS, big data platform, and PaaS platform by combing our technical strengths with those of our partners. Together, we will create an open and dynamic cloud ecosystem."

Huawei extends Micron partnership, launches FusionSphere 6.0

In a separate announcement made at the congress Saturday, Huawei signed an agreement with Micron Technology to co-develop flash technologies for datacentre deployment. Company executives, however, declined to provide details related to their investment plans and targeted roadmap.

Darren Thomas, Micron's vice president of storage solutions, said it was still too soon to announce product plans, saying both companies were looking to build "new products that don't exist today". "But, we're not ready to talk about them yet," Thomas said, adding that the two companies were existing partners and already had co-developed products.

With flash prices falling, Huawei believes all HDD eventually will be replaced with SSD, noted Joy Huang, its vice president of IT product line. He pointed to the Chinese vendor's campaign to replace SAS HDD with SDDs, offering its customers free system upgrades so they pay the same price for the same capacity running SDD disks.

The extended partnership with Micron would improve Huawei's flash systems and drive innovation in 3D NAND technology, Huang said.

The Chinese vendor also announced a new release of its cloud platform, FusionSphere 6.0, which touts support for native OpenStack standards as well as APIs. The vendor added that third-party cloud applications developed on the open source industry platform would be able to run on FusionSphere 6.0 without any code changes.

In addition, Huawei launched a cloud disaster recovery offering based on OpenStack.

Based in Singapore, Eileen Yu reported for ZDNet from Huawei Cloud Congress 2015 in Shanghai, China, on the invitation of Huawei.

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