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Selected Case

published: 27 Feb 2017

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Smartphone industry
  • Region: Asia

The case sets China’s Huawei Technologies in the context of the evolving global smartphone industry, notably its positioning and the links between its competitive strategy and its corporate (global) strategy. It describes the origin, growth and structure of the smartphone industry, evolving industry trends and dynamics, and profiles the major players including Apple and Samsung (originally hardware manufacturers), Google and Microsoft (originally software developers), and new entrants such as HTC and Xiaomi. It focuses on the factors behind Huawei’s stunning success—from a traditional telecom equipment provider to the third largest smartphone maker in the world (after Samsung and Apple), while pointing to the challenges that lie ahead. The unique characteristics of smartphones— multi-functionality, high degree of technology integration, and fast-moving ecosystems—make them an ideal choice for analysis of industry change. The tale of Huawei—a Chinese telecom giant—entering and succeeding in the highly competitive global smartphone industry allows for discussion of the competitive strategy and organizational transformation of an emerging economy multinational enterprise.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• To discuss the past, present and future of the smartphone industry. • Sources of competitive advantage of the major smartphone makers. • Challenges facing smartphone makers to sustain their competitive advantage. • Co-evolution of competitive, corporate and global strategy of an emerging economy multinational.

Smartphone Industry, Competitive Strategy, Industry and Competitive Analysis, Technology and Innovation Strategy, Global Strategy, China Strategy, Strategy in Emerging Markets, Huawei, Samsung, Apple, Competitive Advantages