Huawei to Reopen Shop in U.S., but Can't Lose Sight of Europe

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Was Huawei Technologies' (SHE:002502) strategic move to withdraw from the U.S. last year ever a concrete manifestation of indifference? Apparently not.

If indications at the Interop confab in Las Vegas last week are anything to go by, the $39.5 billion telecommunications giant aims to restore its partner agreements in the U.S. What remains to be seen is whether the world's third-biggest smartphone maker will position itself as a trusted player on American turf without losing its focus on European markets.

Huawei's renewed interest in the U.S. emerges in the wake of an ostensible closure to long-standing accusations of its involvement in cyber-espionage and allegations of its links to the Chinese government, especially after the National Security Agency's covert infiltration into the telecom equipment maker's networks facilitated its exoneration.

With U.S. carriers currently selling about 90% of the country's handsets, the Shenzhen-based ICT solutions provider would now take years to make headway in the U.S. as it continues to grapple with low brand visibility, and trust issues among customers, market analysts say.

"In spite of repeated accusations on geopolitical grounds that have never proven to be true, Huawei is growing manifold to become a global industry leader that increasingly prides on the confidence and trust of a growing U.S. customer base," said a Huawei spokesperson, referring to the company's enterprise channel partnership with online retailer Newegg.

A key roadblock to Huawei's efforts to bolster its footprint in the U.S. is the market leadership of established players like Apple  (AAPL) and Samsung (KRX: 005935). During third-quarter 2013, Huawei accounted for an inconspicuous 3% of all phones sold in the U.S., while Samsung and Apple contributed about 33% and 36% to national phone sales in the country, according to International Data Corp.

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