China's Huawei storms into tablet PC sector

SINGAPORE Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:07am EDT

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China's Huawei Technologies unveiled a 7-inch Android-based tablet PC in Singapore on Monday and said it was also developing a 10-inch device, putting it in competition with Apple and Samsung Electronics.

Victor Xu, the chief marketing officer of Huawei unit Huawei Device, told Reuters in an interview that the company plans to be among the top five handset vendors in three years time, a market currently dominated by the likes of Nokia, Samsung and Apple.

"We are also developing a 10-inch tablet...We hope to launch it this year," Xu told Reuters. However, he declined to give more details and also would not reveal the likely price of the newly introduced 7-inch tablet, the MediaPad.

The company, the world's second-biggest supplier of telecommunications equipment behind Ericsson, has not specified any sales target for the MediaPad which will be commercially available in the third quarter this year through retail stores as well as telecom operators.

Huawei Device is a division of Huawei Technologies that makes cell phones, smartphones and tablet PCs.

It said the MediaPad will run on the Android operating system from Google Inc and use a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm. It will also come with pre-installed applications such as Facebook and Twitter.

Huawei competes with Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and ZTE Corp in global network gear and is increasingly pushing into the mobile devices sector.

"We believe we can enter into the top five vendors in the global handset market over the next three years," Xu said.

The firm had said in April it expects revenue to reach the $100 billion mark in a decade, driven by sales of telecom devices and smartphones.

However, Huawei's MediaPad faces an uphill task. Apple sold 4.7 million iPads -- which command an 80 percent share of a burgeoning tablet market -- in its quarter ended March amid roaring global demand.

In China, apart from Apple, Huawei's tablet PCs also compete with Lenovo and ZTE.

Xu told Reuters in April that Huawei aims to ship one million tablet PCs this year after selling more than 200,000 units since launching its tablet PCs late last year.

In the smartphones sector, Huawei is betting on Google's Android operating system to compete with Apple's iPhone.

ZTE, China's no. 2 network equipment maker, plans to launch its smartphones based on Microsoft's Mango operating system in the United States early next year, its U.S. CEO Cheng Lixin told Reuters in an interview in May.

Huawei's overseas expansion plans in the network equipment sector have hit roadblocks on suspicions that the company maintains links with China's military.

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei's low-profile founder who started the company with just 21,000 yuan ($3,200), served in the People's Liberation Army until 1983.

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata and Harry Suhartono; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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