March 27, 2018 / 12:31 PM / 4 months ago

China's Huawei see Europe as stepping stone in Samsung/Apple rivalry

* Analysts expect aggressive pricing to lure customers

* Seeks to steal further market share in Europe

* Faces slower growth in China, hurdles in the U.S.

By Mathieu Rosemain and Eric Auchard

PARIS/LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Huawei, the world’s No.3 smartphone maker, will use the launch of a new flagship phone in Paris on Tuesday to make fresh gains in Europe, a region where it has made strides against rivals Samsung Electronics and Apple.

With camera-rich features and starting prices that analysts expect to be aggressive, the P20 series represent Huawei’s fresh attempt to compete head-to-head with Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and the iPhone X in the increasingly look-alike market for smartphones.

The P20 premium version, P20 Pro, comes with a triple camera and sensors that offer top-notch image definition among existing smartphones, Huawei said, in a clear response to camera upgrades for the Galaxy S9 unveiled in Barcelona last month.

The region is a lynchpin of the Chinese company’s ambition eventually to become the world’s No.2 phone supplier. Europe has been insulated from some of the intense competitive pressures Huawei faces from domestics rivals in its home market. (Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Eric Auchard Additional reporting by Sijia Jiang, editing by Louise Heavens)

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