Huawei: We're Still Building Our U.S. Enterprise Business, Channel

Huawei says it's still interested in developing its U.S. enterprise business, despite recent comments from one of its top executives that suggested the company had given up on doing business in the U.S. market.

At a conference in Shenzhen, China earlier this week, Huawei Deputy Chairman Eric Xu told analysts that Huawei is "not interested in the U.S. market anymore," as reported by Reuters. Xu also said Huawei had cut its U.S. enterprise sales target for 2017 from $15 billion to $10 billion.

Francis Hopkins, director of corporate communications for Huawei's U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas, told CRN Wednesday that Xu was referring to Huawei's U.S carrier network business, particularly business with Tier One operators, and not Huawei's U.S. enterprise business.

Huawei not only plans to continue doing business in the U.S., it's also expanding its enterprise marketing efforts and looking to build its partner channel, Hopkins said in an email.

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Huawei is planning to showcase its servers, storage, and networking gear at the Spring Interop 2013 conference next month, Hopkins said in the email. Later that month, Huawei will hold its first partner conference under its own brand, a follow-up from the one it held two years ago when it was known as Huawei-Symantec.

Huawei's decision to lessen its focus on the U.S. carrier market isn't surprising. The U.S. government has been scrutinizing Huawei's close ties to China's government and the security implications of Huawei providing U.S. carrier infrastructure.

Hopkins said Huawei's global carrier network business is primarily from developed markets outside the U.S.

"The situation in the U.S. is the same today as it was a week ago, a month ago, etc., and [Xu's comment] reflects the realities of our carrier network business in the U.S.," Hopkins said in the email.

"Simply put, the current U.S. market environment makes it difficult for this market to become a primary revenue source or a key growth area for our carrier network."

NEXT: Channel Concerns Based On Past Huawei-Symantec Experience

Huawei-Symantec was a joint venture between Huawei and Symantec, the U.S.-based security vendor. Symantec in late 2011 sold its stake to Huawei, which then closed down operations in the U.S. except for servicing existing customers.

Jeanne Wilson, president of Condor Storage, a Sedona, Ariz.-based solution provider which partnered with Huawei-Symantec in the past, said she is taking a wait-and-see approach to Huawei.

"When Huawei laid its storage people off, we were caught unawares," Wilson said. "All they left us was a phone number for support.

Glenn Conley, president and CEO of Metropark Communications, a St. Louis-based solution provider, said he took the Huawei corporate comment as more focused on the carrier side, and not on the enterprise side.

"Over the last year, I have had multiple [Huawei] guys fly directly from China to here at Metropark and start going through what are the things we need to compete in North America, and start laying out the routers and switches and putting together a suite of products," Conley said. "And now they are having a partner summit, and I know they are putting some money into the Interop show in Vegas. So it sounds like they are shifting their focus more from the carrier side to the enterprise side, and I love that."

Conley said half of his customers raise security concerns when buying Huawei products, and half do not.

"The half that don’t ask, they couldn’t care less, as long we're providing a decent solution to them," he said. "The ones I am having conversations with, on that level, they're saying, well if the government is going to come in and say I can't buy from them or I shouldn't buy from them, then maybe we should look at them extra hard. "

Kristin Bent contributed to this article.