Huawei Technologies Co., China’s largest maker of phone equipment, said its MediaPad tablet computers are being tested by Tribune Co. as news readers.
The Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times are conducting trials of the tablets through the end of this month, and the devices may be rolled out nationwide once those tests are complete, said James Jiang, executive vice president of product solutions at Huawei’s device business in the U.S.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is diversifying the company into consumer mobile devices to expand business in the U.S., where lawmakers have opposed sales of its phone-network equipment because of his Chinese military background. Tribune Chief Executive Officer Eddy Hartenstein is seeking to add a new business to stem losses from declining newspaper circulation and increased printing costs.
“We are always looking for opportunities to provide companies with products and solutions that will enhance the level of service that they provide to their customers,” Jiang said in an e-mail. “In this case, it is about providing the Tribune’s readers with a platform that allows them to access news and other content.”
The Chicago-based Tribune Co., which also owns radio and TV stations, filed for bankruptcy in 2008, one year after a leveraged buyout led by real-estate billionaire Sam Zell. Tribune, valued earlier this year by the company at more than $7 billion, owes creditors about $13 billion. The company said May 15 it will stop publishing LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine, on June 3.
Gary Weitman, a Tribune spokesman, declined to comment.
Huawei unveiled the MediaPad tablet, which runs Google Inc.’s Android operating system, last year as profit was cut by half. Huawei plans to boost total revenue as much as 20 percent this year, aided by the push into the consumer market, Controller C.T. Johnson said last month.
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