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Huawei wants to be the world’s top smartphone maker

Experts say the company is doing poorly in key markets like Indonesia and India — and the U.S. remains elusive.

“The U.S. is a must-have,” said Mo Jia, an analyst at research firm Canalys. “Only by [obtaining] a sound presence in the U.S., Huawei could have the chance to claim its crown in the global smartphone market.”

On Thursday, Huawei’s consumer business group said sales for the first half of the year increased 36.2 percent to 105.4 billion yuan ($15.6 billion), with smartphone shipments up by 20.6 percent to 73 million units. The company expects to keep pace for the second half, shipping 140 to 150 million phones by the end of this year, but that’s only a tad higher than the 139 million phones it sold last year.

So there’s still a ways to go, especially if Yu’s division is to hit its own target of $100 billion in revenue by 2020. To get there, Huawei will keep prioritizing higher end customers in markets like Europe and Japan, where it’s done well — phone shipments in Europe were up 18 percent in the first half of the year, led by Italy.

“Rome was not built in a day; everything you have to do it step by step,” Yu said. “And the U.S. will be our next step … they need a better product, also better innovation from better vendors, from Huawei.”

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