Huawei's first flagship offline store outside China will be located in Vienna, Austria
Huawei has reportedly made plans to open a 'flagship' retail store for its devices in Vienna, Austria. These stores are to be found in China, but not in other regions such as Europe. This move could be seen as an attempt to enhance its PR profile in the country - and in the EU as a whole - prior to decisions on 5G contracts and deployment in the region.
The U.S., which openly suspects Huawei of excessive links to and collaborations with the Chinese government, has asked its allies in Europe not to take the OEM's hardware up in building their respective 5G infrastructures. Huawei has indeed been effectively banned from a number of countries from offering these products and services. However, the company denies sharing potentially sensitive data with any authorities.
Austrian telecomms groups, on the other hand, have come to agreements with Huawei in order to develop their 5G capabilities. They include Drei Austria, A1 Telekom and T-Mobile. Pan Yao, the CEO of the company's Austrian division, has stated: “We are more than ready to support Austria on its way to becoming a 5G pioneer with our know how and our solutions”. Therefore, the new store, which may be opened in the summer of 2019, may further consolidate Huawei's favorable profile in the country.