To say Huawei’s reputation in the U.S. market is maligned would be an understatement. The company has been accused of being a spy for the Chinese military, an untrustworthy competitor who steals intellectual property, and a lesser quality supplier.
Despite the ongoing suspicious by the U.S. government and the muckraking by competitors, Huawei is standing firm on its ambitions to crack the U.S. networking market by building a channel network that capitalizes on trends in mobility, Big Data and cloud computing.
At its first U.S. partner summit this week in Cupertino, Calif., Huawei is treating its fledging network of channel partners to a rich diet of product roadmaps, market overviews and use-case reviews that shows how Huawei is not just a viable supplier, but committed to building a U.S. market presence.
The cornerstone of this effort is ICT Nation, a new community spearheaded by Huawei that seeks to draw together vendors, partners and chief information officers to devise best practices for developing next generation Information Communications Technology (ICT) solutions. ICT Nation was announced at Interop earlier this month in Las Vegas.
“Partners need an alternative to traditional enterprise IT technologies and partnerships,” said Jane Li, chief operating officer of Huawei Enterprise USA. “Huawei is a global leader in mobile devices and infrastructure for mobility — technology arenas which have already ignited growth for partners with ICT practices. ICT Nation will provide a better way for global enterprises to tap into the opportunities presented by the rise of cloud computing and ICT convergence.”
The partner summit comes just weeks after Huawei made headlines by announcing its withdrawal from the U.S. telecommunications market. Huawei is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of telecommunications switches for traditional wire-line and wireless telephony networks. It’s also the market that draws the most fire by critics, as the U.S. government has cited the potential for Chinese military and government to use Huawei equipment to spy on American corporations and disrupt economic activity.
Huawei has consistently maintained that it’s not a security threat to the U.S. or any company. Compromising customers, it says, is illogical as it means damaging its own revenue sources.
Many media outlets – including Channelnomics – initially reported that Huawei was withdrawing entirely from the U.S. market. Huawei was quick to clarify that it’s ambitions in networking and other IT opportunities remain unchanged. The partner summit is a continued demonstration of its goal to build a channel and business in the U.S.
While Huawei remains steadfast in its U.S. goals, it still faces an uphill battle. The October 2012 Congressional report labeling it a security risk, strong competition by rivals such as Cisco Systems, the difficulties foreign companies face in dislodging U.S. incumbents means Huawei faces many challenges in reaching its goals.
The Huawei partner summit, though, is taking the lid off its channel efforts and is showing the first real indications of how well the company can do in recruiting and enabling solution providers in offering an alternative to Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks.