Huawei hopes to steal Japanese iPhone Market Share with Global FeliCa

Huawei released the Mate 20 Pro in Japan November 30 with a clear goal of offering a lower priced smartphone in the Japanese market where carrier subsidies are going away and iPhone XR sales rumored to be so-so. IT Media Mobile reports that Huawei’s Jeff Wang, regional president for Japan and Korea said that, “long-term the Japanese mobile market is becoming a fair and level one” competitively, with opportunities to offer users “revolutionary products.” The remark clearly alluded to the Japan Fair Trade Commission investigation of Apple iPhone sales strategy in Japan which resulted in the call to end carrier subsidies.

There’s just one catch: only the Docomo Huawei P20 has FeliCa, the Mate 20 Pro does not.

Wang said Huawei recognizes the need for FeliCa in the Japanese market and is working to add global FeliCa to all Huawei smartphone models. If this turns out to be true, Huawei will first smartphone manufacturer to follow Apple’s lead in adding global FeliCa. The sooner global FeliCa becomes a boring standard check box item for smartphone manufacturers everywhere the better.

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Huawei Joins the FeliCa Android Party but Only in Japan

HUAWEI P20 Pro FeliCa only works on the Docomo carrier locked versionDespite the Google Pay Japan flop, Huawei made good on its promise to deliver a FeliCa capable Android smartphone for the Japanese market in 2018. The HUAWEI P20 delivers it via a Docomo carrier locked UIM card arrangement that activates FeliCa.

Google Pay Suica will be the same mess on HUAWEI that it is on all other Android smartphones, and of course there is no joining the FeliCa party for inbound visitors. After all Android has yet to come up with an answer to the Global FeliCa iPhone.

I’m unsure how well any HUAWEI FeliCa device will be received by Japanese customers in light of the weird remarks that HUAWEI’s Jeff Wang made last February. We live in the age of supply chain risk so make your device choices carefully.