Richard Yu will take on the most difficult task in the current technology world: making Huawei the king of the mobile market without relying on Android.
Before the US-China trade war took place, most of Huawei’s senior executives were quite alien to the media, even though the technology giant was the world’s largest manufacturer of network equipment, Mobile brand ranked second globally. Only Richard Yu is the exception.
Huawei’s mobile director is nicknamed “Big Mouth Yu” by the Chinese online community because he often “speaks” about his ambition to become the world’s No. 1 smartphone maker, right from the start of Huawei in this area.
Who is “Big Mouth” Yu?
Richard Yu Chengdong was born in 1969, holds a master’s degree at the prestigious Tsinghua University before joining Huawei in 1993. He has held many important positions at the corporation such as 3G product manager, vice president , then president of wireless network division, Huawei Europe president, director of strategy and marketing, before becoming director of mobile.
Back in the past, Richard Yu had great merits in bringing Huawei into the European telecommunications market in the early 2000s.
Starting with the fourth largest network Telfort in the Netherlands wants to deploy 3G but faces some difficulties in infrastructure. Huawei participated in negotiations to seek cooperation opportunities. Immediately, a European branch was opened with several permanent employees.
Richard Yu, then vice president of wireless network, canceled other appointments, flew to Europe directly to work with members and engineers here. Within a week, they came up with a solution that fits the requirements of the Dutch operator: low-cost 3G base station and installation on small areas.
Impressed by the partner’s ability, Telfort signed a 10-year supply contract worth € 230 million. The door to Europe has opened up to Huawei.
The following year, Chinese corporations won a contract to supply equipment to Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile operators.
This success helped Richard Yu to be a member of Huawei’s 17-member board.
Since 2011, Huawei has identified smartphones as the driving force for future growth and Richard Yu is assigned to lead the mobile industry. That is the time when Huawei phone brand is very small, while the market is flooded with products of giants Nokia, Apple, RIM, Samsung …
Great ambition in the mobile segment
Huawei has a market share of less than 5% in the Chinese phone market, most of the equipment is sold through network operators with contracts. While other domestic brands are labeled cheap, “counterfeit” foreign goods.
Richard Yu took the bold step. Having just sat in the position of mobile director, he decided to stop providing low-cost phones with carrier contracts, boosting the development of smartphones in the mid and high-end segments.
Huawei started using HiSilicon chipsets and Balong “homegrown” modems, developed its own user interface and aims to become the largest global mobile phone manufacturer.
Unlike other important business segments of Huawei, such as telecommunications network infrastructure, wireless devices and smart city development, the mobile sector targets consumers directly. This helped Yu become a public figure, appearing regularly in the media.
In early 2012, Richard Yu proposed a plan to sell tens of millions of smartphones every year and have a line of products that could compete with the iPhone. Entering 2013, he affirmed that Huawei’s flagship was stronger than the iPhone 5. The same strong statements brought the nickname “Big Mouth Yu”.
For the past 7 years, Huawei has consistently achieved success in the phone business. By the beginning of this year, Huawei became China’s largest smartphone manufacturer and the second largest in the world. Just before being put on the “blacklist” by the US government, the group also set an ambition to make up 50% of the Chinese phone market and surpass Samsung to become the world’s best-selling smartphone brand.
Consumer electronics, including mobile business, accounts for 50% of Huawei’s revenue in 2018.
In March, Yu revealed to a German newspaper that the company had developed its own operating system for both phones and computers. This is a contingency plan in case it cannot continue to use the platform provided by US companies.
Undertaking an impossible task?
Huawei’s self-developed operating system supports a wide range of ecosystem products, including smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs, cars and smart wearable devices … compatible with all existing Android applications. have.
In a secret discussion on WeChat, Richard Yu said the operating system could hit the market this fall or at the beginning of 2020. The conversation screen shot was widely distributed. Chinese social networks and newspapers but Huawei refused to confirm the information.
Yu revealed the existence of an alternative operating system at the time the company was caught up in the US-China trade war. Huawei faces a series of accusations from the administration of Donald Trump, including stealing trade secrets, violating economic sanctions and concealing transactions in Iran through a subsidiary.
Huawei lost its license to use Android and Windows as soon as the US ordered companies to stop providing equipment, services and software. A series of important hardware partners like Qualcomm and Intel also canceled the contract.
“Huawei is re-evaluating its goal of becoming the world’s best-selling smartphone provider in 2020, the US ban sets tough questions about access to important services for devices. sold in the international market, “said Zhao Zhao Ming, president of Honor, Huawei’s baby phone brand.
Meanwhile Foxconn, a Taiwanese manufacturer specializing in assembling products for many phone brands like Apple and Xiaomi, has stopped some processing lines for Huawei.
Before that situation, even “Big Mouth Yu” was less optimistic about its future. Speaking on CNBC, he said that Huawei will postpone the indefinite launch for the Matebook laptop because it is banned from importing components from US suppliers.
Only time will be able to answer Huawei’s future, especially in the field of smartphone production. However, Richard Yu is now facing his biggest challenge: defeating Apple and Samsung in the mobile market when there is no Android. This is almost impossible.