Huawei made the decision following a comprehensive review of incumbents Burson-Marsteller, FleishmanHillard and Ogilvy, confirmed international media affairs VP Joe Kelly, who called the process "comprehensive".
The overall assignment is understood to be worth at least $1m, focusing specifically on communications support for Huawei's PACD unit, which oversees the company's global corporate reputation from its Shenzhen HQ.
The decision to bring in Edelman marks a new relationship for Huawei, while BCW benefits from this year's merger of Cohn & Wolfe and Burson-Marsteller. Ogilvy, furthermore, will continue to play a role as part of the BCW team.
However, the selection decision means that Huawei's PACD unit parts ways with FleishmanHillard following a lengthy relationship with the firm, although the Omnicom agency continues to handle PR business for the company's consumer division, which also works with H+K Strategies and Racepoint Global in various markets around the world.
Corporate PR duties have been split fairly evenly between the two agencies. Edelman takes the lead on strategic planning, influencer marketing, media engagement and market insight while BCW will oversee media monitoring, content creation, skills development and media training. The two firms will also contend for lucrative project duties as they arise.
The review came as the world's largest telecommunications equipment supplier continues to expand, despite coming to a standstill in the US — where mobile network operator AT&T walked away from a deal to distribute Huawei’s smartphones because of “political pressure” over security worries.