The consumer business at Huawei became its largest division in 2018, overtaking its core networking business. Huawei released its first Huawei-branded smartphone in 2010. It was an inexpensive handset, and in its first few years, the company released cheap devices.
Ren admitted the company made mistakes in its smartphone strategy, but says it learned from them.
“We set prices based on our costs, which were relatively low. Our costs were low for two reasons. First, as our technology advanced rapidly, we managed to bring down the costs of our products. Second, thanks to the Western management approaches we brought in, our operational costs were also kept low,” he said.
“As a result,” he added, “we set our prices at a relatively low level, which made it hard for Western companies to compete with us. We have reflected on this a lot.”
“We have raised our prices and now many people think Huawei is expensive,” he added.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct a translation error and reflect that Apple is the only rival smartphone maker that Huawei said it is willing to sell chips to.