China's Huawei enters personal computer market to take on Lenovo, HP, Dell

Chinese telecoms conglomerate Huawei will be seeking to gain a foothold in the already crowded PC market by targeting premium consumers who are the mainstay of Lenovo, HP and Dell.
Chinese telecoms conglomerate Huawei will be seeking to gain a foothold in the already crowded PC market by targeting premium consumers who are the mainstay of Lenovo, HP and Dell.PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - Chinese telecoms giant Huawei said on Tuesday it planned a global expansion into computers, posing a fresh challenge to established personal computers (PC) players in a market that has suffered two years of falling sales volumes.

At a news conference in Berlin, Huawei introduced its first line-up of three personal computer models, including a 15.6-inch screen notebook, a 2-in-1 tablet and notebook hybrid and an ultra slim, metallic 13-inch notebook.

Initially, the new entrant is targeting the premium-priced consumer market, pitting it against Lenovo, HP and Dell, which collectively hold more than 50 per cent of the PC market, and possibly even Apple's shrinking Mac computer business.

Huawei's Matebook X is a fanless notebook with splash-proof screen and combined fingerprint sign-on and power button, priced between 1,399 and 1,699 euros (S$2,176-$2,634). Its Matebook E 2-in-1 hybrid will run from 999 to 1,299 euros while the Matebook D with 15.6-inch display is priced at 799 to 999 euros, it said.

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Overall, PC market sales volumes dropped 8.3 per cent in 2015 and a further 3.7 per cent in 2016, according to research firm Gartner, which has predicted a flat outcome this year and increasing market consolidation through 2020.

"From Huawei's perspective, we see opportunities in the PC market's decline," Cheng Lei, senior marketing manager for Huawei's PC business, told Reuters of cost-savings and design and manufacturing benefits it gets from its smartphone business.

All three models run on seventh generation Intel microprocessors, Microsoft Windows 10 software and in-house developed software to automate data transfers between Huawei smartphones and its new line of computers, Lei said.

Huawei plans to introduce the new PCs in 12 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, it said.

On Monday, HP, the No.2 PC maker behind China's Lenovo and ahead of third-ranked Dell, introduced three new consumer models with similar hardware specifications that boasted short-term pricing discounts and a bundle of popular third-party software.