Huawei Firms Up Enterprise Channel Strategy


Huawei this week confirmed more information about its expanding global enterprise channel as it seeks to burrow further into territory dominated by Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and other vendors with monster worldwide channel programs.

The broad channel push comes on the heels of a U.S. channel program Huawei launched last fall. That program was tied to the launch earlier this year of Huawei's U.S. Enterprise Group, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif. The global Enterprise Business Group also was formed in 2011 following a restructuring of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., which is the Shenzhen, China-based parent company.

Huawei executives told CRN last fall that the company's goal is to do 100 percent of enterprise sales in the U.S. through channel partners and that "phase one" of the program includes Huawei's Ethernet switches, routers and video telepresence products made available through U.S.-based solution providers. In recent months, Huawei also has continued to recruit Western-based channel management talent, including former 3Com and HP executive Alex Dobson, now Huawei's vice president of sales, U.S. Enterprise Group.

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Now comes the global program, which Huawei unveiled this week at the CeBIT conference in Germany and which includes several program levels.

Tier-1 Resellers are Huawei distributors and VARs that purchase products directly from Huawei and receive support from Huawei.

Tier-2 Resellers, the group in which Huawei includes its Silver, Gold and Platinum-level partners, add market capabilities and are described by Huawei as "influential" in their specific regions and industry segments.

Huawei also is adding a training and certification specific to information and communications technology (ICT), through which it hopes to certify 300,000 professionals by 2015. It also plans to recruit partners to become Huawei Authorized Learning Partners.

William Xu, senior vice president of Huawei and CEO of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, said that a healthy partner ecosystem is a high priority for Huawei's international expansion.

"Together with our channel partners, we intend to lead the industry with a dual devotion to customer-centric innovation and service, while tapping into Huawei's vast experience to help enterprise customers navigate the challenges and opportunities in today's ICT era," Xu said in a statement.

According to Huawei Enterprise, it did $3.8 billion in sales contracts in 2011, up from $2 billion in 2010. Industry sources peg Huawei's global revenue at about $35 billion.

Several U.S.-based solution providers contacted by CRN said they'd been approached by Huawei and were at least intrigued by the vendor.

"Say this for them: They're aggressive as hell," said the CEO of a longtime West Coast-based networking solution provider, who asked that his name not be used because his team is currently discussing the Huawei option. "It's a good product and it's priced reasonably, and it seems like they're in this for the long haul. We're going to look at the program pretty closely."

Huawei has sought a stronger global enterprise presence for years but has seen growth stymied in the U.S.due to continued concerns over its alleged ties to the Chinese military -- ties that Huawei has continued to deny. It had worked with the U.S. channel in some capacity as part of its Huawei Symantec joint venture, although Huawei confirmed in November that it would buy out Symantec's stake for $530 million. The joint venture's North America operations shut down in January.

The company has continued to broaden its enterprise product portfolio all the while. At CeBIT this week, it unveiled three high-end S9700 switches, eight S5700-LI midrange switches, seven AR200/150 enterprise access routers, seven WLAN access points, and six Tecal V2 servers supported by Intel Xeon E5 processors.