Huawei appeals directly to consumers at Thailand Mobile Expo

People visit the Huawei stand at the Mobile Expo in Bangkok, Thailand May 31, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/Files

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies battled back against consumer worries at a major smartphone expo in Thailand over the weekend, bringing in an army of salespeople to fight perceptions that a US blacklist would hobble its phones. 

Thailand Mobile Expo, a triannual event where brands and retailers slash prices and offer deals to ramp up sales, came nearly two weeks after a Reuters report that Alphabet Inc’s Google would suspend some business with Huawei.

Most Huawei phones run on Google’s Android operating system, and Google said it would no longer be able to provide software as a result of the US ban. 

To ease Thai consumers’ concerns, Huawei salespeople assured customers that existing products would not be affected. Every product display table also featured a Thai-language copy of the company’s May 20 statement, saying it would continue providing support for existing products. 

But some shoppers remained concerned about being cut off from Android updates and possibly losing access to Google applications.  

“I’m worried that the old phone won’t be able to get updates because of what happened with Huawei,” said Theerapong Jitjareonmanee, an existing Huawei smartphone user whose concerns held him back from buying more of the Chinese firm’s products at the expo. 

According to research firm Canalys, Huawei held the third-largest market share for smartphones in Thailand in the last quarter of 2018, after Oppo and Samsung, with 73.4% growth from a year earlier. Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second-largest smartphone market.

Huawei has said it has been developing its own technology in case it is blocked from using Android. 

Potential customer Kiathanaphat Boriboon, who came to the expo to buy Huawei’s P30 Pro smartphone, said he had confidence in the world’s second-largest smartphone maker. 

“Personally I think Huawei will find solutions for their users. They will not leave the users with problems,” he said. 

(Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Stephen Coates)

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