I’ve written before about Chinese telecoms company Huawei using sports and entertainment to combat the atrocious PR it tends to get around the world. That trend is continuing, but the company now appears to be spurning the US and focusing more on Europe.
In the latest bid to promote an event or team in a foreign capital (after Canberra, Washington DC, Madrid and counting…), Huawei will be the official technology sponsor of next week’s World Triathlon Grand Final in London, which takes place in Hyde Park from September 11-15 and is part of the London 2012 legacy programme designed to attract major international sporting events to the UK now that the Olympic buzz has moved on.
Huawei signage will appear in promotional and hospitality zones during the event. In addition, Huawei will invite 30 customers and employees to take part in a mini-triathlon, which will run alongside the main, elite-level ITU World Triathlon Series finale.
According to the Huawei blurb, triathlon is perfect for the company’s Ascend P6 smartphone: “swimming, with the grace and elegance of the P6’s design; cycling, with the P6’s strength and durability; and running, with the P6’s endurance and unrivalled battery life.” No mention of the winner gets of one these or not, but as you can see from the above picture, it is being marketed as distinctly non-Chinese.
It’s a busy time for Huawei, with a press conference next Thursday in Dortmund, Germany, to announce more details of the company’s deal with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. Most people in the west with no particular connection to China (i.e. most people in the west) have either never heard of Huawei or have absolutely no idea how to pronounce its name (“who uh wee”?). But when the name does crop up, it tends to be in connection to spying or cyber flaws, so any positive (or even neutral) mention of the company outside China is sorely needed.