Huawei’s Pablo Ning talks on the success of the Mate Series and what’s in store for the future

December 15, 2022

After two years of waiting, the much-anticipated HUAWEI Mate 50 Series has been launched in September 2022. HUAWEI Mate Series smartphones have invariably distinguished themselves from other high-end flagship models, with each generation incorporating the latest and greatest Huawei innovations, from vast displays and powerful batteries to excellent exteriors, high performance and Kirin chips.

The HUAWEI Mate Series is now in its 10th year after the first generation of Huawei’s original Mate phone in 2013. With that in mind, we sat down with Pablo Ning, President of Huawei Consumer Business Group – Middle East and Africa to talk about the growth of the Mate series as well as what’s next for Huawei in the region.

One of your flagship launches this year was the release of the Mate 50 Pro in September – what does this model bring to the Mate legacy?

I think the design and the innovation we tried to bring, for example the glass is the Kunlun glass which is especially durable. We want to bring the very best to the consumers always, so even with the XMAGE camera I think this is the first time we bring such technology. This camera is like a professional camera, so such kinds of technology shows to the consumer that Huawei is still a technology company. We are focused on bringing a key ecosystem to our consumers always, especially with features like the Huawei AppGallery. We are here to serve our customers, because it is one of our core values.

How challenging is it to keep raising your product expectations with each iteration?

In our DNA, we always want to be number one. So we have long-term investment into R&D, even in the past three years we never stopped or reduced our investment into these areas. We still believe in a long-term strategy so we continue to invest. We never give up, and that is what we keep doing especially locally. We launched our flagship store in Riyadh, and even in Dubai we launched another store. We never stop to enhance the user experience.

Apart from the obvious improvements in technology over the years, what are some of the standout achievements from the Mate series since its launch in 2013?

I still remember the first one we launched, the Ascend Mate. At that time other phone screens were very small and Huawei was the only one to bring a bigger screen. After that with the Mate 7 was the fingerprint sensor, because you no longer needed a PIN, just press your finger. This makes people’s lives easier to unlock their phone with one hand and improve productivity. It also had Huawei’s flagship chipset at the time and the best technology that we had. The Mate 20 was also with new features like reverse charging and super charge, and we launched with a big campaign here.

Huawei’s growth in the region has been quite rapid and now stands as one of the popular mobile phone brands here. What has it been like to witness that level of success?

It has to do with quality, this is our foundation. We control all of the production to ensure our quality. In the people’s minds still people think of technology, innovation, and even sometimes fashion. People believe that Huawei is a reliable and premium brand. This is what we want to show to the market.

You started your career with Huawei back in 2007 – what smartphone were you sporting then?

2007…I think it was a Blackberry? When I was in university I had my own business, so I started with Blackberry and even managed to install various apps from my PC to the Blackberry by myself. I used an iPhone for a while after that when I was in Venezuela because it was a contract phone. Then after Huawei started producing smartphones in 2009, I started using the Huawei Ascend Ideos which was not a touchscreen phone.

How is Huawei able to use consumer usage data – such as screen time, battery life, camera usage etc. – to adapt product features accordingly?

I think that is how and why we need to set up representative offices, so we can understand the market. We try to bring the latest technologies, but we also have to match with local needs and the local understandings. One example is for the camera – when I stayed in Saudi Arabia for a few years, we do a lot of observation and interaction with consumers. But you can see people’s habits are very different from in China. Here it is very hot, so people always do social activities at night. Our camera initially was only focusing on the greenery in backgrounds, but here the landscape is very different. Temperature is another important thing we had to consider – we go outside and put our phones in the car when the temperature is nearly 50C. Initially when I was running with one of our watches, it switched off during my run because it was too hot outside. So we had to fix that to keep up with temperature and humidity, because in China most of the cities don’t have weather like this. We had to also make sure that the camera could focus well at night for selfies when people were socializing. Such kind of small things may be small, but to the consumer they mean a lot if you adapt to include these things.

Huawei took a considerable risk with the launch of the Mate series by sporting a much larger display than industry standards, a risk that paid off. What sort of rule-bending do you see the company engaging in in the next couple of years?

Frankly speaking, Huawei has a lot of magic that we haven’t yet shown the world. I’ve seen a lot of things that are beyond my expectations – things like being able to communicate with a satellite in emergency to communicate even if you have no phone signal. I still believe – based on our past – that no matter what, we still have areas to improve and things yet to bring to the market. This is the only way we will continue to succeed.


by T3 Middle East