Huawei To Challenge Cisco With Bold U.S. Enterprise Channel Push

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The channel program will authorize U.S. Huawei partners to sell Huawei's Ethernet switches, routers and video telepresence products. Huawei's overall product portfolio goes far further and wider, but Huawei representatives told CRN it will be those three product lines for now.

Consider those initial offerings "phase one" of the program, Lu said.

Huawei will work with VARs and systems integrators in a traditionally-structured channel program that offers better rewards for more commitment to Huawei. A dedicated Huawei sales team, which Lu called "high-touch," will assist Huawei's partners.

The specifics of the partner program are still somewhat vague. Huawei hasn't yet disclosed the partnership categories or the prospective levels of partnership reward, such as discounts, for each category, but Lu said partners will be categorized based on their volume commitments to Huawei, and their technical certifications. In return, they will receive incentives such as discounts, co-branding resources and market development funds from Huawei.

Huawei declined to name any of the U.S. channel partners with whom it is currently in discussion to join the program, as well as the number of partners with whom it's speaking. Huawei Symantec, the subsidiary of Huawei and U.S. security giant Symantec, will be a partner of Huawei's enterprise team, the executives said.

A major U.S.-based solution provider that partners with Cisco told CRN that he would "listen to Huawei's pitch."

"This is a very crowded market," said the solution provider, who asked that his name not be used. "I understand that a lot of their products are comparable to what's out there and are probably priced cheaper than what Cisco has in some cases. It's interesting that they're going 100 percent channel and I do see them being aggressive in trying to get in front of us."

"I think they have their work cut out for them," the partner said. "But they are a big worldwide player and that's going to help them. Huawei is no startup."

Lu and Plummer said Huawei is also in discussion with two-tier distributors in the U.S., but similarly declined to name the parties involved. One of the distributors is believed to be Tech Data, which declined to comment when asked about Huawei by CRN.

Representatives from Ingram Micro did not return a request for comment on Huawei by CRN.

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