China-based telecommunications company Huawei will spend a serious amount of cash this year trying to improve its brand image.
Speaking to Reuters in an interview published Wednesday, Huawei marketing vice president Shao Yang said his company "will spend $300 million on marketing" this year. That followed comments made last month by Eric Xu, Huawei's acting CEO, who said that the focus of all Huawei marketing efforts this year will be to improve its brand image and appeal to people looking for mid-level to high-end smartphones.
Huawei has found itself in the middle of near-constant controversy of late, including when it was discovered last month that the US government allegedly hacked into the company's servers to monitor its activities.
Huawei has been trying to make inroads in the US. However, the company found itself in the middle of US-China relations last year when American lawmakers expressed concern over the possibility of Huawei's telecommunications technologies being used in the US. Some lawmakers said that Huawei was too close to the Chinese government and could be used as a spying apparatus for the country.
Last month, when news broke that the US allegedly hacked Huawei, the Chinese government used American lawmakers' own protests against the company as ammunition. China said last month that it has "lodged many complaints with the United States," adding that China was demanding a "clear explanation" of the alleged hacking.
For their part, neither Xu nor Yang had anything negative to say about the US, but did try to assure reporters on hand at a press conference in Shenzhen, China, that the hacking scandal isn't expected to hurt the company's business. It's likely given the massive marketing spend, however, that last year's US interrogation and the alleged hacking are playing a role in the company's increased spending.
CNET has contacted Huawei for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.