The problem isn’t the phones
The problem with Huawei isn't the phones, they are awesome, I loved my Mate 8 and still love my Mate 9 but the problem is service. I travel a lot for work and unlike Samsung and Apple who have service centers in all corners of the globe it is extremely hard to get service for Huawei in most places in the world and even in many States in the US. It is a sad disappointment for me because I actually really like the devices but I probably won't buy another because when things do go wrong there just isn't any service. I'm currently working in Hanoi and their is a service center here but they told me they won't service my Mate 9 because they don't sell that specific model in Vietnam. Super lame. The girl in the shop actually told me to fly to Taiwan to get service. That was her actual suggestion. Even after I offered to pay for the shipment of the needed parts and service from China to Vietnam, (literal neighbors), she still said she wouldn't help and I should fly to Taiwan or Hong Kong. For that cost I can just buy a new phone, likely not a Huawei, unfortunately.
It is doubly unfortunate that Huawei can’t figure out the service side of things because they really do make great phones. My present struggles with Huawei service do bring back memories of poor service from Huawei not long after I bought my Mate 9. It was a little over a year ago and after buying the phone I wanted to switch all my household chargers over to USB 3 and get a nice case for my brand new thousand-dollar phone. The problem was and still is, because Huawei doesn’t have many of their own stores and in Taipei where I bought the phone they have exactly zero of their own stores. At the time of buying the phone Huawei didn’t even have an online store where you could buy accessories for the phone. You could buy the phone through one of their local partners but you couldn’t buy anything from them in a store or even online. I thought it was pretty weak because I have a couple of online stores myself and I know how easy they are to set up. So I was pretty disappointed that a billion dollar company couldn’t figure out how to create a couple of jobs at the same time as improving the customer experience surrounding their products. Here we are 14 months down the road and it seems the company still hasn’t figured out how to solve these really minor issues. At a time when they are spending millions of dollars on marketing trying to penetrate the US market it seems od to me to continue to neglect the other areas of customer experience that could help foster strong brand loyalty.
I believe this service issue is a greater oversight than the company is capable of recognizing at present. The customers that will buy the high end versions of their phones are precisely the customers that will find themselves in need of service when away from their home country. People with higher salaries travel more and have a higher likelihood of have international jobs that like me need to travel for work. The issue doesn't even require a heavy-handed solution , an internal memo directing device staff to ensure service to all huawei customers would alleviate a high percentage of the issue. With the addition of an online store that ships anywhere in the world would require about 3 additional staff for a global portal. A small price to pay to ensure the level of service expected .
Come on Huawei, you can do better.
Also worth noting, there is little to no secondary market for Huawei phones. So after you've had the phone for a year you probably want to upgrade but you will likely struggle to extract any value from your year old Huawei. With other brands you could easily extract half the value of a new device by selling it in a secondary market. But with Huawei you'll be out of pocket the full retail price of the phone every year. It's a shame.
Update: Feb 10 2018
I contacted the head office of Huawei in China, and corresponded with them in Chinese to ensure no misunderstandings, the answer was the same. In order to get service on your Huawei device you need to return the phone to the same place you bought it. Even though there is a Huawei service center in my current city they won't repair my phone. Frustrating and very difficult to understand the thinking behind this customer service strategy.