Huawei lifted the curtain on this years' Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday by taking the wraps off five new LTE devices, including a pocket-sized phone and tablet combo, which it hopes will help it to further its quest for brand recognition among consumers.
"We need to work on our brand," admitted Colin Giles, executive vice president of Huawei's consumer business group. Huawei improved its brand awareness by 110% last year, but needs to continue to invest in marketing to further improve that recognition, he said.
In Europe much of that spend is focused on the sporting world.
"Consumers in Europe like football," Giles said, reminding the auditorium of journalists that Huawei has signed partnership deals with Arsenal in the U.K., Germany's Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan in Italy and the Spanish football league.
"This is paying off," Giles said. Device shipments in 2013 increased "by a significant amount" compared with the previous year. In Germany the vendor saw shipments grow by a factor of four to reach a market share of 4.9% last year, while its market shares in the U.K. and Spain grew to 2% and 5.7% respectively, Giles said.
"These are modest numbers but we are a young company and we're growing," Giles said. "[These are] encouraging numbers for us."
Overall Huawei sold 52 million smartphones last year, making it the third largest smartphone maker in the world, according to analyst firm IDC.
It hopes the new devices it launched on Sunday will help it to strengthen that position.
Andrew Connell took to the stage to present three new devices: the E5786 mobile WiFi hotspot; the latest addition to Huawei's Ascend smartphone range, the G6; and its first tablet, the eight-inch, mass-market MediaPad M1. The Ascend G6 will retail at €249, while the MediaPad M1 has a €299 price tag, Connell said.
He was followed onto the platform by Huawei's consumer CEO Richard Yu, who showed off Huawei's second tablet of the day, the MediaPad X1, proclaiming it to be "the most compact tablet in the world".
The seven-inch X1 is a crossover device, designed to fulfil the role of both a large screened smartphone and a