back to article Samsung and Apple BEWARE: Huawei is coming to eat your lunch

Richard Yu, Huawei's consumer boss, was one of the highlights of the presentations at Mobile World Congress. This is not because he's easy to understand; like a French president travelling overseas, he makes no concessions to his pronunciation advisors. It's because he thinks everyone else is rubbish. Huawei's new range …


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  1. FartingHippo


    "he name itself is hard to pronounce for Anglophones - most English-speakers say "Hu-Wah-Way" but even that isn't quite correct."

    You tease, you. So how do you say it?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Pronouciation

      Like the german Kaiser did: HU! A! WEI!

    2. stu 4

      Re: Pronouciation


      job done.

      1. DropBear

        Re: Pronouciation

        "Hawaii. job done." - oh no, you didn't just go there... So now we can elaborate on how that in turn should actually be pronounced more like "Hawai-i"?!? I propose we be done with this foolishness, pronounce it simply "Brunnen-G" ("Yo Way Yo" is close enough), and call it a day.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Pronouciation

      >You tease, you. So how do you say it?

      Probably in a way that can't be expressed using the English alphabet. There are symbols for expressing things like rising tones - see - but it might just be easier if you find an audio clip on the interwebs.

      Even then, there is never any guarantee that hear an audio clip in the same way as a native speaker, specifically if your ears were exposed to the difference between 'rip' and 'lip' during a short period in your infanthood, you will never be able to distinguish them in adulthood (hence many racist jokes about Japanese pronunciation of European words).

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Pronouciation

        Even then, there is never any guarantee that hear an audio clip in the same way as a native speaker, specifically if your ears were exposed to the difference between 'rip' and 'lip' during a short period in your infanthood, you will never be able to distinguish them in adulthood (hence many racist jokes about Japanese pronunciation of European words).

        I thought the Japanese R/L mixup came from their alphabet, which doesn't distinguish between them (basically, their alphabet has the R consonant, but not the L--when they have to accommodate an L from a foreign language, they use the R which is closest). I know a few Japanese writers and artists have actually played on this ambiguity as jokes or whatever.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Pronouciation


          Goto (1971) reports that native speakers of Japanese who have learned English as adults have difficulty perceiving the acoustic differences between English /r/ and /l/, even if the speakers are comfortable with conversational English, have lived in an English-speaking country for extended periods, and can articulate the two sounds when speaking English.

          Japanese speakers can, however, perceive the difference between English /r/ and /l/ when these sounds are not mentally processed as speech sounds. Miyawaki et al (1975) found that Japanese speakers could distinguish /r/ and /l/ just as well as native English speakers if the sounds were acoustically manipulated in a way that made them sound less like speech (by removal of all acoustic information except the F3 component). Lively et al. (1994) found that speakers' ability to distinguish between the two sounds depended on where the sound occurred


        2. albaleo

          Re: Pronouciation

          "basically, their alphabet has the R consonant, but not the L"

          Kind of, but a Japanese "r" is not the same as an English "r" and in some ways is similar to a "d". An English "r" usually involves no contact between the tongue and palette (except when rolling like a true Scotsman). A Japanese 'r' usually involves a short touch, but not as firm as with a "d".

          1. Darryl

            Re: Pronouciation

            Sadly, a lot of English speakers will pronounce it "Hi YOON die" because it's one of them Asian brands and they're all alike.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Pronouciation

            If you study the Japanese kana tables (what are essentially the Japanese version of the alphabet--only they represent phonemes), you'll see many different consonants being represented there: including "ra", "ro", etc. But there's none starting in "l". It's just the way their language developed. I can see why the connection was made, though, since similar tongue motions are done with the Japnaese style of "r" and the English "l" (which also involves lightly touching the palette). The point is that this idiosyncracy in language presents a "lost in translation" problem sometimes. I'm not implying anything good or bad about it; happens all the time between distant languages. I once heard an African tongue (one that involved lots of tongue motion, I think) that made me think in wonder, "How did a language like that develop?"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pronouciation

        "Probably in a way that can't be expressed using the English alphabet. There are symbols for expressing things like rising tones ... but it might just be easier if you find an audio clip on the interwebs."

        I can't speak for Cantonese but in Mandarin at least it's not that complicated. Just put an accent mark as they have in Spanish, French, etc. going "up" over the syllable. As you can see from Wikipedia, it's Huáwéi. (I don't think it matters if the "accent" is over the 'a' or the 'u' before it, since it's the same syllable.) The standard way of writing Chinese with Roman characters, Pinyin, does a passable job of transliteration with not that many surprises (one is e.g. that "q" is pronounced as "ch"). Based on the discussion here, it seems the biggest hangup with Huawei is that English speakers don't know where the syllables break. (It's hua-wei.)

    4. Zog_but_not_the_first

      Re: Pronouciation

      Ask a Geordie?

      Mine's the one with a bottle of broon in the pocket.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pronouciation

      Like a Geordie says How are we

    6. Semtex451

      Re: Pronouciation

      I think you have to modulate the sound at the right points by moving the back of your tongue to roof of your palate. Or some-such.

    7. ardubbleyu

      Re: Pronouciation

      Spelling? Seems more difficult than how to say it...

  2. Nick Ryan Silver badge


    So how are we meant to pronouce "Huawei"? :)

    But back to the plot - competition is always good when it's competent. Three years to develop the backend processes and final products for mobiles is good going.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Huawei

      It's Wah-Way

      1. sorry, what?

        Re: Huawei

        I rather like the alternative "who are we". It sums up the average Brit's recognition of the company and also allows for a jingle based on CSI's theme tune (Who Are You by The Who) - "who are we? he he, he he".

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: Huawei

          I was hoping for why-eye so that could sound like they were from sunderland

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Wah-way cites the same source, but "hua"definitely isn't pronounced as "wa" in standard Chinese. (Why would you invent a transliteration scheme that rendered the same consonant in two different ways?) So is this some southern dialect (Huawei being just north of Hong Kong) or did the video get it wrong?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wah-way

          I don't see why difficulty pronouncing it would be an obstacle for market acceptance anyway. A few TV ads mentioning the name and people will figure it out.

          Even if they had a name that couldn't be pronounced well by western speakers, they could brand themselves with stylized 'H' as a logo or something like that. Apple seems to do OK putting their logo their phones rather than the full name.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wah-way

            I don't know if they have this over the pond but in America we have a car company called Hyundai. They had been around for years until they had a "Hyundai like Sunday" commercial that explained how to properly pronounce their name. Most say hun-die instead of hun-day.

    2. Charles Manning

      Re: Huawei

      I bet Huawei don't care how you say their name right now. In time you will learn. They're already sponsoring football teams (albiet very minor ones) and such.

      As I've been saying for the last year or so, the spat between Apple and Samsung is like two little kids fighting over being the tough guy in the sandbox. Huawei will outstrip them both within a year or two.

      It is like watching the Japanese companies in the 1980s and 1990s, but just faster, as they relentlessly shot up the value chain. A typical profile was first sell the ceramic used to make chip packages, then start assembling chips for others, then start making chips for others, then start making licensed chips to sell under your own brand, then designing your own chips, then start selling finished products under the same name.

      Huawei have slowly worked up the value chain and now supply more telecom equipment than anyone else. Thus far it has mainly been infrastructure stuff outside the public eye and carrier-branced phones .... and now they're pushing their own brands hard.

      Huawei spend about the same on R&D as Apple, but their per-employee costs are far lower. That means they're likely doing far more R&D than Apple is.

      That they will eat everyone else's lunch is a given.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Huawei

        Huawei spends the same PERCENTAGE OF REVENUE on R&D as Apple. That means they don't spend anything even remotely close to what Apple spends. Apple spends more on R&D than Huawei makes in profit.

        If I have a company that has $1000 in sales and I spend $500 on R&D, I'll outspend every big company on Earth by a mile, but it won't mean much.

        I think the idea that they'll eat Apple's lunch is ridiculous. Do you think people who choose iPhones today are going to choose a Huawei phone tomorrow? Why? They could have bought an Android phone for a lot less than they paid for their iPhone, they didn't make cost their #1 objective then, so why will do so tomorrow?

        Samsung arguably has a bit more to fear from Huawei, because Samsung doesn't compete only at the high end, but also at the mid-range and low end where people clearly ARE more price sensitive.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    If anyone else here was wondering, as I was, what the heck 'nano injection moulding' was:

    The grain structure of conventional steel tools has placed a lower limit on the size of features than can be injection moulded. Using metallic glasses to make injection molding tools, one can cheaply produce plastic objects on the centimetre scale, with sub-micron surface features.

    "Micro-injection molding is widely used to form plastic components rapidly and precisely. Current tools for injection molding rely largely on steels for their strength and durability. The finite grain size in traditional crystalline metals means it is challenging to produce tools with features < 10 μm (Fig. 1b). However, the need for plastic components with increasingly smaller features is recognized, particularly for information storage and bio-analytical applications.

    "Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), having no limiting microstructure, can be machined or thermoplastically-formed with sub-micron precision while still retaining often-desirable metallic properties such as high compressive strength. These novel materials thus have enormous potential for use as multi-scale tools for high-volume manufacturing of polymeric MEMS and information storage devices. Here we show the manufacture of a prototype BMG injection molding tool capable of producing centimeter long polymeric components, with sub-micron surface features."

    1. frank ly

      Just wondering ...

      How do you mould or machine BMG to sub-micron precision unless you have the moulds or cutting tools which have sub-micron precision and stability in use? It seems like a 'chicken and egg' situation.

      1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

        Re: Just wondering ...

        We have been making the chickens (or are they eggs?) for quite some time already.

      2. DropBear

        Re: Just wondering ...

        Frankly, that is right there in the linked source - where they used FIB (focussed ion beam) which as awesome as it is, is in no direct relation with the size of the feature it works on (ie. there is no tiny "cutting tool" that needs to be created first).

  4. Mage Silver badge

    Whah Wei?

    "There are some problems with your post."

  5. Mondo the Magnificent
    Thumb Up

    Crouching kitty, hidden iguana....

    Here is Africa the Huawei brand is well known and advertised quite heavily, with massive billboards showing off Huawei's [previous generation] handsets.

    When I was still "stationed" in Blighty, circa 2011, I bought me a cheap and cheerful Huawei Android handset at the O2 store for UKL65 on a PAYG package. It worked quite well indeed with the exception of it's WiFi reception, which was dismal. Three bars when positioned next to the WAP.

    I believe that Huawei is a force to be reckoned with in regards to consumer electronics, it's taken them some time to reveal their true potential, but the some of the kit I use, like the B683 3G router come WAP and the great little e586 portable WiFi hotspot. They both work very well indeed, especially at the price.

    The one thing we always read about Huawei is how Western governments don't trust any networking kit manufactured by them. These could be valid concerns, but the slightest negative press can always taint a good product's reputation.

    I await the new Huawei handsets to arrive in Africa. If they arrive before I leave and if the product offers the same or better features for a lower premium than Samsung, LG or Apple, it has a damned good chance of being added to my "shopping cart"

    The clear winners here will be the consumers, Huawei may be the product that forces other handset manufacturers to lower their prices. After all, LG, Samsung, Apple and others are mostly made/assembled in China, so it's fitting that a Chinese product with a Chinese brand name could give them a run for their money,

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So we have a choice

    Buy Apple and get slurped by the NSA

    Buy Samsung and get slurped by everyone

    Buy Huawei and get slurped by the Chinese

    No winners there then?

    Personally, Samsung are a no go area because of HDD problems. I have an iPhone (company Issue) and a Huawei 3g dongle so I guess I'm covered then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So we have a choice

      HDD Problems? in a smart phone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So we have a choice

        Well at least being slurped by the Chinese, having to translate will slow them down a bit and you can probably sneak nuanced info through.

        Of course, they are technically an 'unfriendly power'; but given the way the 'friendly' powers are treating their citizens these days maybe that doesn't matter so much; unless you're a manufacturer.

  7. Sir Sham Cad

    Consumer brand awareness

    They no haz it, so it doesn't matter how amazing the kit is, Apple and Sammy are still way ahead on logo recognition. Same problem HTC had so Hu-Ah-Yoo are going to need to spend a *lot* on marketing.

    Even those who know the company associate them with back end telco kit and packet pushing devices not consumer goods (In much the same way as Nokia should be but aren't).

    Still, great stuff and I can't wait to see them push the technology and innovate the shit out of the rather stagnant smartphone market.

  8. Ted Treen
    Thumb Up

    Love it:-

    "...Samsung should be very concerned at what Huawei might be demonstrating in two to three years' time. So should everyone else..."

    Great:- effective competition spurs everyone forwards. The consumer/purchaser only gains from this.

  9. Frankee Llonnygog

    Jockeying to be top Android phone vendor

    Whoever's top, Google wins

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Jockeying to be top Android phone vendor

      Not so much in the Chinese domestic market. And who knows, maybe Samsung will continue its bet-hedging strategy and collaborate with others on providing an alternative to Google's proprietry bits of Android - app store, map service, APIs etc.

      That said, Google have recently smoothed some ruffled feathers by selling Motorola.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jockeying to be top Android phone vendor

      Or maybe not....

  10. Arctic fox

    I have to say that I entirely agree that Huawei are worth watching.

    After her indoors nicked my Desire Z (long story, won't bore you) I looked around for a replacement (I ran it in tandem with my Lumia 820 - cloned sims) and stumbled across the Huawei P6 Ascend. Quite astonishing value at a little over the 250 spons mark. Very nice build quality indeed (regardless of price point) and very decent performance plus a really nice 5 inch screen. In terms of the visual I do not much like the way they have skinned the os but the hardware is very impressive indeed at that price point.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I have to say that I entirely agree that Huawei are worth watching.

      Last year I bought an Huawei G700 Ascend 5" screen 2Gb ram, dual sim, etc, it came fully rooted from a company on Amazon UK called Meri..something €175 ! It compares quite well wth my mate's Note II

      It has good battery life for the surfing SMS and calls that I use it for, has great reception on Spanish Vodaphone ( I would say twice as good as my old Sammy clamshell ) Wi Fi is good and over the last week where I was working in Madrid the Wi Fi went down so I used it as a hotspot for my Sammy Tab 3 and my mates iPad no problems at all and seemed quite fast.

      If this is last years tech and is getting better I will buy another when I need it, as for the X1, at the current expected price of €400 it's a little expensive but the specs are good especially with a 5000mAh battery and a 7" is on my want list so I will definitely have a look at one as an alternative to a Samsung.

      I am told the G700 in the phone shops here go to about €600 so I will look on the net again for a decent price.

      Luckily I have nothing of real interest for the Chinese to spy on although they may find the photos of my wife's pet ferret interesting as a potential ingredient for a recipe.

      1. Arctic fox

        @Chris G I am very definitely looking at them with interest.

        What really surprises me is how fast they came out of the starting blocks (three years?) as far as hardware design and build quality go. They at the top of my watch list as far as Android based kit is concerned.

    2. weenoid

      Re: I have to say that I entirely agree that Huawei are worth watching.

      "After her indoors nicked my Desire Z..."

      That pesky indoors, always up to no good.

  11. cs94njw

    S5 looks mostly nice, but it does feel like a small upgrade - even on my S3. If they threw a watch/fit strap in with the S5, it's a deal...

    Otherwise maybe Huawei is the last hope for something interesting...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't they come up with another brand name that we have a chance of pronouncing in the English speaking world?

  13. Big_Ted

    How about


    Must say I would like to see one of these phones and the wristband/headset as a package for a couple of hundred quid.....

  14. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton


    Most of the big brands had excellent opportunity to reach a mass audience but preferred to remain elite? No?

    1. Charles Manning

      Re: Shame?

      "Most of the big brands had excellent opportunity to reach a mass audience but preferred to remain elite? No?"

      They're after the profitable end of the market and diluting your brand with the lower end can reduce your margins. For example, Mercedes could easily make a shitbox car for everyone, but then the badge would be less exclusive and they would have a hard time convincing someone to pay $200k for a top-end vehicle.

      Nokia used to sell both low-end candybar phones (making them maybe a dollar or two per handset) as well as the top end phones. For a big company it is not getting out of bed for some of these markets.

      This does leave openings for those motivated to fill the slots - something Huawei has done very effectlively.

  15. John 62


    Matsushita named its consumer division Panansonic, but then most English speakers would have problems with the 'tsu' syllable.

    I don't think Huawei should really be 'wah - way', which is like the BBC pronunciation unit telling reporters to call the ex-Cote d'Ivoire president bag-bo instead of gba-gbo. Disregarding the tonal aspect, Huawei should probably be more like 'hwa - way'.

    Huawei really came out of nowhere in backend telecoms kit, too. They ate Nortel's lunch in more than one market and I'm sure along with ZTE, they were responsible for Siemens exiting the sector and for Alcatel-Lucent posting similar numbers to Nortel for a couple of years before Nortel died. Alcatel-Lucent is probably only being held up by French and US patriotism.

  16. Moosh

    A little late to the party

    I always pronounced it "huh-whey"

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