Chinese handset maker Huawei launched their first e-smartphone brand Honor on Tuesday and said the brand will try and develop India into their second-largest market. Also, the brand under Huawei also said that they were looking at producing the phones in India very soon although a confirmed date was not revealed.Samsung which released the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge also promised that it would start producing its devices in India in the first half of the year.
The launch assumes significance as many handset makers have taken the strategy of selling their devices only through online retail to boost their sales figures and is also a reflection on the growing e-commerce sector in India. Strategies such as flash sales and exclusive tie-ups have resulted in undue increase in demand, hype for several brands and are seen as successful. While Xiaomi in December claimed that it has already sold one million units, Micromaxx’s YU sold out 15,000 units on Amazon on the opening day of the sales. The YU was launched in December 2014.
Commenting on the launch of the Honor series, Allen Wang, president ofconsumer business group, Huawei India, said, “The reason for us to launch Honor was to target the digital natives and the youth of the country who are very active on the e-commerce space. We aim to sell at least 2 million units this year.” Further explaining the company’s focus on India, Allen said, “As part of our commitment to India, we have set up a research & development centre in Bengaluru which drew up an investment of Rs.1,050 crores approximately and accommodates up to 3000 engineers.Innovation is the key to our excellence in design and technologyand currently we have more than 60,000 patents out of which 20,000 exclusively for devices.”
While Motorola was one of the first handset vendors to sell its devices solely through online retail, China’s Xiaomi and Micromax subsidiary Yu have also followed the same route. Globally, Honor sold about 20 million units in 2014,raking in $2.4 billion in revenues. Overall, Huawei saw its handsets businessrevenues at about $12 billion last year. According to research firm IDC, Huaweiwas the world’s fourth largest smartphone vendor with 6.25% share. It follows Korean electronics giant Samsung (20.01%), Apple (19.85%) and Lenovo (6.59%) in the tally in the October-December 2014 quarter.
When asked about the need to create a separate e-brand to expand itself, Honor president George Zhao said, “The dual brand strategy has been working well for us globally and in India. Last year, we sold 3,00,000 units of Honor devices and this year, we are looking at 7X growth in that number, at about 2 million. We are focused on bringing in devices that will appeal to Indian users.” He added that thecompany will bring one or two more devices under the range to India.
The company unveiled two new devices under the Honor range — 4X (priced at Rs 10,499) and 6 Plus (Rs 26,499), which will be retailed through eCommerce major Flipkart.Like most other e-brands users have to pre-register on the website to avail the product. With the launch of the two devices on Monday, the Honor serieshas four devices now.The Honor 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch display, 3GB RAM,Quad-core Cortex-A15 and quad-core Cortex-A7 processors, 32 GB internalmemory, 4G support and 3,600 mAh battery. The Honor 4X is powered by a 1.2 GHz quadcore CPU and features a 5.5-inch display, Android KitKat OS, 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras, and 3,000 mAh battery. Allen also clarified that the user interface would be EMUI3.0 and Honor will stick to Android for now.
Besides, the company has set up a Huawei Honor Fund, under which the companywill contribute $0.1 from the sale of each device (4X and 6 Plus). This will be awarded to start ups and individuals working on ICT technology. “I praise Honor’s efforts of contributing to the society and showing a greater sense of responsibility. MSME sector is the most dynamic sector in today’s developing economy, especially one like India, while being small in size and yet engaging millions. I am sure that this initiative will provide a significant help for the boosting of MSME. I encourage and request more ICT companies like Huawei to join hands together in building a stronger platform for ecosystem of innovation, fostering the more and moretechnology leaders from the MSME sector,” Giriraj Singh, minister of state formicro,small and medium Enterprises, said.
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