Despite being blacklisted by the US government over security concerns, Chinese multinational telecommunications company Huawei has experienced a 24.4% revenue growth in the first 3 quarters of 2019. The company recently announced that revenue grew to an astonishing £92 billion, 185 million smartphones were shipped over a 9 month period, and their 28% share in the global telecoms equipment market remains consistent.
A spokesperson for Huawei released a statement saying that the effect of the US trade restrictions was less impactful than initially feared, and the company aims to stand by their key message 'Building a Fully Connected, Intelligent World' regardless of these restrictions.
But how has Huawei managed to sneak into the telecommunications market so quickly and successfully, given that no one knew of them just 5 years ago?
The key lies in their market research and usability testing. When key decision-makers at Huawei first began planning to venture into the telecommunications industry, they instantly addressed their lack of research and knowledge concerning their target market. Implementing a 2-phase strategic approach, Huawei adopted a data-driven approach to reach target customers, which would also be cost-effective.
The 1st phase centred on connecting with over 30,000 different websites in China that focused on telecommunication. The user behaviours on these websites revealed customer interests, frequently shared content and which articles or topics had the most amount of engagements through commenting. Once this data was collected and organised, phase 2 brought together all of the information and formed effective marketing campaigns that addressed target audience's interests and concerns.
Huawei was quickly building up a loyal customer base but having an effective marketing campaign is only half the battle, Huawei also had to deliver and this is where the company really began to forge ahead.
The company then began investing heavily into its research and development teams, devoting 10% of its revenue into R&D and engaging with just under 50% of its employee base (around 79,000 employees) who performed usability tests on the website and products. During 2015, R&D business case costs totalled just over £54 million, which was 15 % of the company's total revenue at the time.
Huawei's research-based campaigns have been the grounding that catalysed its influence over the industry, as they address and cater to their audience's needs. Quick thinking UK companies like British Telecom (BT), Vodafone, Orange, and T-Mobile have since joined together with Huawei, partly out of concerns about their role in the telecommunications industry and partly because of Huawei's innovative research methodology.
"Huawei has maintained its focus on ICT infrastructure and smart devices, and continued to boost the efficiency and quality of its operations,"
Bringing it home
Having the money to spend on market research and, a large and accessible employee base is one way to perform successful research and usability projects. But for those companies without thousands of on-hand volunteers and with limited budgets, performing user-focused tests can end up being put onto the shoulders of small internal teams.
Even though the approach is favourable, time and device limitations eventually catch up with you. Questions businesses with an online presence need to ask themselves are: How am I including my target market into every part of my websites or apps development stages? Do I have access to all of the devices and browser combinations my target market uses or am I just focusing on the one with the highest conversion rates, disregarding all other combinations?
These are the questions in which Huawei asked themselves and addressed through usability testing.
For businesses with limited resources, addressing these questions through external testing companies with a proven track record, like Digivante, solves the limitations of time and resource.
Digivante is an external website testing company with an expert community of over 55,000 testers. We have access to over 400 different global device and browser combinations and specialise in functional, usability, regression and accessibility testing, which helps companies improve their digital experience through research-based testing. With past clients such as Next, Audi and Superdry, we are dedicated to improving conversion rates, customer retention and revenue in the long term.