It is not often that a relative newcomer to the European market can have the incumbent giants quaking in their boots.
But Chinese networking giant Huawei is flexing its muscles, and is pumping significant investment into winning channel hearts and minds in the coming months, as it bids for a large slice of the market with its range of products covering switches, routers, telepresence, servers, storage, UC and datacentres to name but a few.
And it has rivals such as Cisco, HP and Juniper worried, although not all of them will admit to that yet.
With more than 60,000 people working in its research and development department, it is small wonder the bigger boys are concerned.
Unlike other newcomers to the European stage, Huawei has a huge presence in one of the fastest growing countries on the planet – China. It has 49 per cent market share in China and manufactures 55 per cent of all the world’s dongles.
The firm is still privately owned, but last year turned over in excess of $30bn, and has already doubled its enterprise business to $4bn in the past year.
Dave Poskett (pictured), enterprise channel director, UK and Ireland at Huawei, said the plan is to grow the enterprise business to between $15-20bn over the next three to five years. “The company has a five year plan and it has asked us in the UK what we need to deliver our part of the plan,” he said. “The investment we are putting into the UK is very significant. I am recruiting as many good people as I can – it is our biggest priority.”
And the good news for the channel is that Huawei plans to be 100 per cent indirect and is looking for ways into the public sector, finance, utilities and transport industries, among others.
“We will have an accreditation scheme,” Poskett explained. “With Platinum, Gold and Authorised level partners based on technical and sales accreditation.” He boldly claimed that Huawei will be able to offer double the margin of its competitors. “We will have up front public sector pricing, deal registration at end user level and strong partner support. We will give them incremental discounts to help them win business,” he said.
The vendor is directly approaching its desired enterprise-level channel players, but is relying on its recently appointed UK distribution partners – Micro-Peripherals (Micro-P) and SDG to sign up mid-market and SMB partners. A third distributor will be appointed in the coming months, and its identity is subject to much speculation.
And despite the continuing challenging economic conditions, Poskett was convinced now was the right time for the Huawei assault on the market. “I think it’s the best time to do this,” he said.
“While budgets are being squeezed we have a fantastic product set that can help save money. We will work with partners to bid for customers that they cannot bid for now and provide that differentiation.
“We are at an absolute advantage right now. We have the flexibility because we are phasing in our products to the market and can make sure that we are listening to partners and reacting to what they want.”
Phil Brown, commercial director at Micro-P, was excited about the opportunity. “With IT budgets challenged across the board, now is a great time for Huawei to enter the UK channel and offer resellers and end users a credible alternative to existing vendors,” he said.
“Huawei enables end users to keep functionality and quality while lowering their capital expenditure, and in addition offers resellers a fantastic margin opportunity.
“The global size and scale of Huawei make them one of the few tech giants yet to enter the UK market and the opportunity to partner with them will be attractive to a wide range of our reseller partners.”
Paul Eccleston, EMEA managing director of SDG was also confident. “Huawei already has a huge brand presence and has seen significant acceptance of its technology already. The company is growing at a phenomenal rate. The market has been pretty much dominated by one player for a long time. Although Juniper and HP have done a great job, Huawei will represent a choice for the market and that is a good thing for everybody,” he said.
Press briefings reveal what will be on the vendor's agenda in Las Vegas next week
Most MSPs will already offer some form of hosted service, and providing management and orchestration of cloud services may be the next logical and smart step in developing their business
Oxfordshire-based reseller reveals it installed an Aerohive WiFi network at Blenheim Palace three years ago
Occasional CRN columnist ponders human need for WiFi, football shenanigans, robot workers and deference