Huawei CEO Yu Chengdong says this, even as his company has just launched the Mate Xs and the first-generation Mate X. The company is diving into foldables. With Yu’s statement about foldables not churning profit, it seems that Huawei is in foldables for reasons other than making money.
What are those reasons?
Huawei wants to remain at the cutting edge of the smartphone market. Foldables are indeed, cutting-edge. They are the newest trend. Motorola has launched the Motorola Razr (2019). The device folds in half and comes in a compact form factor.
Samsung has launched the Galaxy Fold last year. This year, it has already announced the Galaxy Z Flip, a phone that is more competitive with the Motorola Razr foldable buyer base. Royole, a lesser-known manufacturer, has also launched its FlexPai foldable phone. The company just announced its FlexPai 2 this week.
Motorola, Samsung, and FlexPai are in the foldable phone race. Huawei wants to be in the foldable race because of reputation and market perception.
In a field where companies compete to be more cutting-edge than their rivals, it pays to stay ahead. Huawei cannot compete in the phone market if it can’t at least try to rival Samsung, whose popularity is indisputable in Android.
This is evident when one considers that Samsung rushed its first-generation Galaxy Fold to market so as to beat Huawei to launch. Then-Samsung CEO D.J. Koh said at the time that it didn’t want Huawei to get to market before it could. The reason? Reputation. Companies that come behind are “Johnny-come-lately.”