Huawei enters Irish market

24 Apr 2003

Aggressive Chinese network equipment maker Huawei Technologies has entered the Irish market through a distribution agreement with Data Solutions.

Data Solutions will distribute Huawei’s portfolio of networking products through its channel of IT partners and systems integrators in Ireland as part of its Connectivity portfolio.

Established in 1988 in Shenzhen, China, Huawei is now a US$3bn-plus company that holds a 70pc share of its home market and internationally is seen as a looming threat to US networking giant Cisco. The battle between the two has already started to heat up in fact, with Cisco recently issuing legal proceedings against Huawei for alleged copyright infringement. Cisco says Huawei has infringed at least five of its patents and copied its Internetwork Operating System source code, using it in the operating system for Huawei’s Quidway routers and switches. Last month, Huawei Technologies accepted that it used some of Cisco’s source code in its own products but claimed the copying was accidental and on a much smaller scale than Cisco alleges.

The legal dispute has cast a shadow over a joint venture agreement signed last month by Huawei and another US player, 3Com.

Under the terms of the agreement, 3Com will have the right to sell 3Com-Huawei products under the 3Com brand everywhere in the world except China and Japan. In those markets, 3Com-Huawei will sell both the former Huawei networking product line as well as the existing 3Com product line based on an OEM agreement between 3Com-Huawei and 3Com.

However, the dispute with Cisco is unlikely to derail Huawei’s global expansion plans, which has seen Huawei set up 32 branch offices worldwide. A number of regional headquarters and customer support and training centres have also been established and Huawei’s products are now used in 38 countries, including Germany, Russia, Spain, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore and Egypt.

“Huawei represents one of the fastest growing new breed of network technology vendors,” says Michael O’Hara, managing director of Data Solutions. “Huawei presents a great opportunity in that it provides products which combine proven, reliable solutions, with the highest performance and best functionality, but at extremely competitive prices, in a market that has been traditionally dominated by a select few vendors.”

By Brian Skelly