Shenzhen (China) (AFP) – Controversial Chinese tech company Huawei’s next smartphone will sport a camera from premium German manufacturer Leica, it said on Friday as it announced a jump in profits driven by its consumer division.
The smartphone maker in late February announced the partnership with Leica, one of the most respected names in the camera industry, in a bid to improve its premium smartphone selection.
“We are going to launch our P9 flagship phone very soon and this is a product that we worked with Leica to produce,” Huawei deputy chairman Guo Ping said at a press conference held at their Shenzhen headquarters, where the company’s annual results were announced.
“We need to work with the strongest partners in this area to provide the best product,” Guo said, adding that the there is “fierce competition” in the consumer market.
Huawei saw net profit rise 33 percent year-on-year for 2015, reaching 36.9 billion yuan ($5.7 billion), and said revenue for the year was 395 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 37 percent.
Its consumer business grew 72.9 percent to 129.1 billion yuan, after it shipped 108 million smartphones for the year and attributed its growth to the growing influence of the Huawei brand.
The firm is one of the largest providers of network infrastructure globally, but its consumer products are less well-known outside of China.
Since its founding in 1987, Huawei has surged to become one of the world’s top manufacturers of network equipment, operating in 170 countries and expanding rapidly into consumer electronics such as smartphones.
But the company has been isolated from government contracts in some countries due to security fears.
Australia last year barred Huawei from bidding to build its national broadband network, saying security agencies warned the Chinese company posed risks.
US officials also view Huawei as a security threat due to perceived close links to the Chinese government, which the company denies.
Huawei has taken a leading position in the smartphone market in China ahead of Samsung, but its US offerings have been limited until its recent agreement to produce a Nexus phone for Google.
Huawei was tapped in late 2015 to produce the Nexus 6P, one of two handsets by Google to showcase its Android mobile operating system.
With this partnership, the Chinese tech giant is gaining new prominence that could help its efforts to win broader global consumer appeal.
At a time when Chinese firms are struggling to break the dominance of Apple and Samsung on the high end of the smartphone market, the partnership is a milestone for Huawei.
It is due to release it’s newest iteration of its flagship phone in the shape of the yet-to-be-announced Huawei P9.
Huawei is not listed on any stock exchange but it releases financial information in the interest of transparency.