Media Focus: Who has Huawei taught a lesson about "not building a car"?

On March 31, Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, issued a paper announcement: Huawei does not build cars and is valid for 5 years. At the same time, the announcement also put forward strict requirements for the exposure of Huawei logo in automobile design, which triggered a hot discussion in the whole industry. The picture shows a new car displayed in a Huawei experience store in Beijing.

On the night of March 31, a batch of posters with the words "HUAWEI asks the world" and hung for less than a month were urgently removed. At the same time, all the promotional materials with the word Huawei have been removed from the shops across the country.

The reason is that in the afternoon, Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, issued a paper announcement: Huawei does not build cars and is valid for 5 years. At that time, Xu Zhijun, who was in the last hours of the rotating chairman’s term, said: "Huawei’s strategy remains unchanged. We don’t build cars, help customers build good cars, and become an Internet incremental component supplier."

At the same time, the announcement also puts forward strict requirements for the exposure of HUAWEI logo in automobile design, emphasizing that "Huawei" and "Huawei" cannot appear in the publicity and appearance of the whole vehicle. Therefore, the "Huawei Boundaries" and "HUAWEI AITO", which first appeared on March 8, were urgently stopped.

Ask the world that one car has many factories, and the brand ownership becomes a mystery.

Dramatically, on April 1st, in the speech at the 2023 China Electric Vehicle committee of 100 Forum, Yu Chengdong, managing director of Huawei, CEO of BG and CEO of BU, a smart car solution, publicly responded to the storm, and for the first time mentioned the change of cooperation mode with GAC and other key topics.

"Originally, we wanted to use the world of inquiry as a brand of cross-border cooperation, so we added’ Huawei’ in front of it. As a result, our company said in the past two days that the word’ Huawei’ should be removed, which triggered a heated discussion in the media." Yu Chengdong revealed that he ordered to clean up all the online and offline publicity materials, and removed all the signs such as "Huawei asks the world" and "HUAWEI AITO" that had been hung before.

He said: "Huawei does not build cars, but helps car companies to build good cars together. We have always adhered to this concept. It’s just that we want to make’ ‘HUAWEI asks the world’ an eco-brand, so that consumers are not confused when choosing. "

According to reports, after Cyrus, there will be a number of cooperative car companies under Huawei’s intelligent selection mode, including Chery and Jianghuai. In this business model, Huawei will provide core software and hardware technologies such as electrification and intelligent parts, and help car companies "build and sell good cars" through product definition, user experience, quality control, channel retail and brand marketing. This will not only help car companies achieve sales breakthroughs and commercial success, but also promote the large-scale production and sales of Huawei smart car parts.

Yu Chengdong explained that at present, the whole vehicle is produced by Cyrus, but Chery, Jianghuai and other car companies will soon join the production team. "If these new cars adopt different brands, our marketing, service and sales system will be very complicated and the input cost will be too high. Therefore, we hope to use the unified brand" ‘HUAWEI asks the world ".

He emphasized that after the word "HUAWEI" was removed, the nature of the ecological alliance in the world has not changed. In the future, several partners under the smart selection mode will still work together to build an ecological alliance, and there will be no conflict in product planning. "Some are SUVs, and some are cars; Some do MPV, some do C-class cars and D-class cars, and the products that each car company is responsible for will not overlap. We make full use of production capacity and resources to jointly build a series of models and form a complete solution. "

The reporter consulted official website of China National Intellectual Property Administration Trademark Office. In the comprehensive inquiry of the 12th category of trademarks (mainly automobiles and various vehicles), the trademark "AITO" was applied for registration by Chongqing Haokang Enterprise Management Consulting Co., Ltd. on June 9, 2021, and was successfully registered on January 7, 2022. On February 4, 2021, Beijing Yongan Shida Trade Co., Ltd. applied for registration of the trademark "Wenjie", which was successfully registered on September 7, 2021.

According to the public information of Tianyancha, Chongqing Haokang Enterprise Management Consulting Co., Ltd. is 100% owned by Chongqing Xiaokang, and Chongqing Xiaokang is also the major shareholder of Cyrus Group Co., Ltd.

This means that "AITO" and "Wenjie" trademarks belong to different entity organizations. Although Cyrus is the earliest and deepest car company that cooperated with Huawei, and the two sides also signed a business deepening cooperation agreement in February this year, Cyrus only has "AITO" without "asking the world", which is rare in the car circle.

Pan Helin, co-director and researcher of Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center of International Joint Business School of Zhejiang University, said that Celestial and Wenzhou had strengthened their binding with Huawei and achieved certain results. However, once the market was cold, or a word-of-mouth crisis was triggered, it would adversely affect Huawei’s brand.

"From the result-oriented point of view, once Huawei’s logo is posted, it is not sold well, which is not conducive to Huawei’s future acquisition of more customers in the field of car manufacturing." Pan Helin believes that Huawei should adhere to the slogan of "no cars" and insist on being a good supplier.

It is difficult to make a car profitable. Can Huawei join hands with car companies to solve the problem?

Some analysts believe that if Wenjie is built as an eco-brand by Huawei, it means that there will be new cars made by other car companies such as Jianghuai Wenjie and Chery Wenjie in the future. Once this becomes a reality, it will undoubtedly create a new cooperation mode in the automobile industry, even subvert the relationship between vehicle manufacturers and suppliers and change the industrial chain pattern.

Pan Helin believes that vehicle manufacturers should try their best to avoid losing the dominance of brands, especially not to borrow suppliers’ brands to sell cars.

"In the past, automakers generally adopted a multi-supplier strategy to maintain their voice and pricing power in the industrial chain, and then focused on building their own brands and implanting them into consumers’ minds." Pan Helin analyzed that before Celeste deeply bound Huawei, it wanted to attract traffic and customers through Huawei’s brand, but now "Huawei asks the world" and "HUAWEI AITO" are urgently stopped, which may lead to the rapid loss of previous traffic, which is not good for the long-term development of automobile brands and vehicle manufacturers.

Of course, there are many reasons to attract car companies to abandon tradition and join hands with Huawei.

On the one hand, Huawei has the second-to-none R&D strength. Whether it is the core technologies such as autonomous driving and ICT, or the car system and intelligence, Huawei is fully competitive.

Some analysts believe that Huawei’s eco-car is a good choice for those car companies with insufficient Internet attributes or weak self-driving and self-research of car systems.

On the other hand, the stories of the past few years have proved that car companies that have worked closely with Huawei have the opportunity to rapidly increase product sales and company market value, and greatly enhance their profitability.

"Some automakers believe that once the cooperation with Huawei is successful, the profits will be considerable. At the same time, joining the manufacturing army can help car companies make better use of production capacity. In addition, some car companies have many brands and don’t care about one more OEM. " Bai De, an independent car commentator, said that for Huawei, it is also imperative to carry out large-scale cooperation with a number of car companies.

"Whether it is autonomous driving or other intelligent technologies for automobiles, it requires a huge amount of R&D investment. Only when the scale of cooperation continues to expand can Huawei continue to dilute its R&D and manufacturing costs. " Bai De analyzed that driving the car into offline experience stores in various places will also help Huawei stabilize the profitability of sales channels and interact with smart phones, smart homes and other businesses to empower each other.

The Controversy of Dominance: Behind the game is the technical confrontation.

In fact, when Huawei just announced its entry into the field of automotive intelligence, BAIC and other car companies took the initiative to embrace Huawei’s autonomous driving solution and tasted the sweetness. For a time, the scandal of car companies "grabbing relatives" Huawei was almost endless.

However, at present, as Yu Chengdong admits, not all car companies will pay for this new model.

On March 28th this year, the 35th meeting of the 6th Board of Directors of Guangzhou Automobile Group passed the Proposal on the Change of Guangzhou Automobile Ai ‘an AH8 Project, indicating that the AH8 project of Guangzhou Automobile Ai ‘an New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd., a holding subsidiary, was jointly developed with Huawei and changed to independent development due to resource allocation and other reasons.

This means that the joint car-building model between GAC and Huawei is terminated, and Huawei will continue to participate in the development and cooperation of new cars as an important supplier.

In response, a source close to Huawei responded that after GAC abandoned its cooperation with Huawei Hi (Huawei Intelligent Automotive Solution) model, only Changan Automobile is the partner of this model at present, and BAIC will adopt other cooperation models in the future.

Jiang Han, a senior researcher at Pangu think tank, said: "The previous model of Huawei and Cyrus has been recognized, but that requires the unreserved and dedicated cooperation between car companies and Huawei, which is not easy to replicate."

According to Jiang Han’s analysis, most car companies have their own interests or intertwined relationships, and there are actually not many car companies that can cooperate with Huawei as well as Cyrus.

He said: "After all, vehicle companies are more like a aggregator and a platform, and even suppliers of intelligent automotive solutions are still participants in this platform. How to maintain an open attitude and maintain the uniqueness of your own brand is actually a headache for car companies. "

Jiang Han believes that to become the "Bosch" in the era of intelligent electric vehicles, we must first create a more objective and neutral image, which requires long-term strategic determination. "After the route dispute some time ago, I hope Huawei can stick to the right choice."

In fact, not every car company will welcome Huawei, a slightly stronger supplier. As Chen Hong, chairman of SAIC, once said, it is unacceptable for SAIC to cooperate with a third-party company like Huawei to drive automatically. "In this way, it becomes the soul and SAIC becomes the body. SAIC must hold its soul in its own hands. "

The reporter learned that in the process of intelligent transformation of the global automobile industry, many automobile companies have adhered to the full-stack self-developed automobile intelligent technology and put forward their own solutions.

"The new forces have their own pursuits in intelligence and will not choose us; Because of sanctions, foreign car companies will not choose us; The traditional OEM that is afraid of losing its soul will not choose us. " Yu Chengdong said frankly that Huawei is facing great challenges in the automobile business.

"The investment in early research and development is so huge. If the cars using Huawei’s automation solutions are not well sold in large quantities, they will not be commercialized and will not be able to achieve a closed-loop business." He said that the reason why we should adhere to Huawei’s smart selection model is to work closely with more car companies to achieve a win-win situation.

In Yu Chengdong’s view, at present, the vast majority of domestic automobile enterprises have strong basic capabilities such as vehicle production, including factory production technology, supply chain management and other soft and hard strengths. What these car companies are good at is what Huawei is not good at.

"Huawei is good at car intelligence, electrification and networking, including software, algorithms, clouds and chips, which some car companies are not good at. Therefore, we and car companies can complement each other. " Yu Chengdong concluded.

In the era of smart cars, how should vehicle companies grasp the relationship with parts suppliers? Will the dominance of car companies be replaced with suppliers? At present, this series of questions may not be answered.

Cao Guangping, an independent researcher of new energy and intelligent networked vehicles, believes that the whole industry should give more support to those car companies that strive to master their "souls"; At the same time, we should also strongly welcome companies such as Huawei to actively participate in industry competition.

After all, only on the day when "the whole vehicle is strong and the spare parts are strong" can China’s automobile industry truly reinvent itself and write a new legend in a wider market all over the world.