When it comes Huawei, two immutable facts are hard to ignore.
First, Huawei is a multibillion company that sells massive amounts of networking, server and storage infrastructure worldwide.
The second is that, going as far back as 2012, Huawei has been something of a pariah to the U.S. government. Suspicions concerning how closely aligned Huawei is to the cyber-espionage activities of the Chinese government remain.
Nevertheless, Huawei has been competing aggressively all across the globe. In the networking arena, its global market-share gains against Cisco have been especially pronounced. Now Huawei has appointed David He as the new president of its enterprise business unit in the United States. In addition to repairing relations with the U.S. government, He said one of his top priorities is to expand the size and scope of the Huawei channel in the United States.
He acknowledges that channel partners are clearly crucial in terms of increasing market awareness of Huawei offerings in the United States. Many U.S. companies with global operations already make use of Huawei infrastructure overseas and at home, He said. At a time when IT infrastructure vendors, such as Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell, are all going through major transformations of their own, Huawei may be able to leverage its manufacturing muscle to provide higher margins for its partners. Much like all these rivals, Huawei is seeing the general shift toward software-defined infrastructure as an opportunity to gain market share.
The biggest issue, however, for any potential Huawei partner is security. Unlike Lenovo, also a China-based company, Huawei has been dogged by security suspicions that still remain unproven. Those concerns have not stopped Huawei from winning commercial business in the United States, but they certainly haven’t made it any easier for Huawei or its partners.
Huawei said that at present it has 170,000 employees worldwide operating in more than 170 countries. The United States is the only market in the world where it has a minimal presence. Each solution provider will have to decide if and when it might make sense to partner with Huawei. Nevertheless, one way or another, channel partners will be seeing a lot more of Huawei in the months and years ahead.
Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications, including InfoWorld, CRN and eWEEK. He currently blogs daily for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, Channel Insider and Baseline.