Chinese technology giant Huawei enters Israeli smartphone market

The world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker will market a number of cellphones.

Huawei's product line370 (photo credit: NIV ELIS)
Huawei's product line370
(photo credit: NIV ELIS)
Chinese technology giant Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, has entered the Israeli smartphone market, its designated local distributor Alpha Telecoms announced Sunday.
Huawei’s Ascend Y300 smartphones will sell for NIS 849, about NIS 500 less than the Samsung S3 mini, which has similar a screen size, camera resolution and operating system. The Ascend G510 will cost NIS 999, about NIS 700 cheaper than the Galaxy S2 plus. In both cases, however, the Samsungs are smaller, while the latter has a better camera. The more premium phone Huawei will put on the market is the P6, which will retail for around NIS 2,000.
Apple’s iPhone 5, on the other hand, retails for well over NIS 4,000. Apple caused a brief slump in its stocks earlier in September when it unveiled the iPhone 5c, which was expected to be a cheaper product that could compete with the likes of Huawei in the Chinese market.
It retails for only about $100 less than its new premium phone, the 5s.
Huawei hopes its low-cost handsets and tablets will have a competitive edge against more expensive, well-known rivals, such as Apple and Samsung.
To help overcome the competition, it is including a one-year warranty for its phones, allowing users to get fixes for damage for a mere NIS 150 (or NIS 440 for a broken screen). While warranties are popular abroad, in Israel most smartphones come with optional “insurance” for extra monthly pay.
Though Chinese-produced hardware has aroused suspicion that the up-and-coming economic powerhouse could use its infrastructure for cyber espionage or cyber warfare, Alpha CEO Dror Avishai said “it hasn’t been an issue” with Israelis interested in buying the products.
Among the marketing challenges the company faces in getting Israelis to adopt its product is teaching them how to pronounce the company’s name (wha-way, though the Hebrew version sounds more like an excited child reacting to fireworks: Wowee!). To that end, Alpha has released a series of cutesy commercials featuring cats, ninjas and motorcycle racers pronouncing the company’s name properly.