Huawei Ready for an American Do-over

Huawei used this week’s Interop confab in Las Vegas to reintroduce a number of its channel-facing services and partner agreements.

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[caption id="attachment_35660" align="alignright" width="205"]Jane Li Huawei Huawei Enterprise USA COO Jane Li[/caption]

It’s been a tough couple of years for Huawei in the U.S., but the Chinese networking vendor has a message for its small-but-growing corps of loyal American partners: We’re here, and we’re open for business.

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Huawei used this week’s Interop confab in Las Vegas to reintroduce its channel-facing services and partner agreements. Company executives say they feel re-energized in the wake of recent revelations have quelled difficult questions about the company’s ties to the Chinese government and its potential as a national security threat to the West.

“Some of the noise in the system has slowed us down, that’s the reality,” Jane Li, COO for Huawei Enterprise USA told Channelnomics this week. “It is frustrating. It has taken unreasonable time for the noise to go away, but I believe it will. I still firmly believe in America.”

Li said Huawei, which has been in the enterprise IT market in the U.S. for about two years and in carrier-grade networking for nearly a decade, never fully retreated from the American marketplace, but recognizes it still has work to do to recover from controversy and bad press if it wants to compete with the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. here.

“I don’t think it’s a zero-and-one issue,” Li said. “We have to communicate to partners one at a time and gain their trust one at a time. We’ll continue to do our homework as any new vendor in the U.S. needs to do to continue to build our trust here.”

By most accounts, Huawei is well positioned to take advantage of a fresh restart in the U.S. market. Huawei recently reported revenues of $39.5 billion, up 8.5 percent, with a net profit of $3.5 billion. The company currently earns about 65 percent of its revenue from markets outside of China.

The vendor’s carrier network business accounted for $27.5 billion of that total, but Huawei’s enterprise and consumer businesses jumped by 32.4 percent and 17.8 percent to $2.5 billion and $9.4 billion last year, respectively.

One of the ways Huawei hopes to keep that momentum is with a recently-announced set of enterprise services and support, including call center services, equipment delivery and technician support across the U.S. Dubbed Huawei Enterprise Services and Support, the program includes includes 24/7 call center services delivered by the Huawei Technical Assistance Center (TAC) in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with authorized service partner Essintial Enterprise Solutions.

The program’s frontline and backline support will be augmented by TAC operations in Plano, Texas; Romania; and China. Huawei is guaranteeing partners four-hour onsite parts and technician support to some 40,000 U.S. locations.

The company also this week announced the availability of a new Huawei Certified Service Partner Program to help partners deploy and maintain Huawei ICT solutions and equipment, a portfolio that includes networking, server storage, eLTE, cloud and data center networks, BYOD, videoconferencing and collaboration solutions.

Huawei’s message is gaining some traction as the vendor continues to add to its partner rolls in the U.S. The company said this week that City of Industry, Calif.,-based DMR Newegg joined the program this week, a clear sign of “increased interest by resellers and distributors that want to offer customers high-quality, competitive solutions,” Li said.

"Our customers want the best equipment and solutions for their IT budget and Huawei gives them that," said Soren Mills, CMO at Newegg North America. "Huawei's continuous investment in research and development has resulted in high-efficiency enterprise and storage solutions with outstanding TOC, which is what our customers demand."

In addition to its emerging strategy to increase partner awareness and engagement, Huawei is also practicing some more hands-on, tactical efforts to woo solution providers away from competitors. In a direct shot at Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Co. that hits at the bottom line, Huawei recently announced a “Switch Your Switch” campaign that promises a 30 percent discount on whatever partners are paying for competitive wares if they move to a Huawei switching product.

All of these efforts encapsulate a push by Huawei to move beyond some of the issues that have dogged the company's U.S. efforts and position the company as a true, end-to-end ICT vendor for channel partners looking to deliver a solution that spans network infrastructure, security, application and device management platforms and full-featured end-user devices.

"For partners who really want to offer the whole enchilada and are looking for a one-stop solution, Huawei is really pretty unique, " Ajay Gupta, director of product marketing for Huawei's enterprise business unit, told Channelnomics. "Whether you need a complete solution or you need devices or you need networking, we are there."


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