George Zhao, global president of Honor.  (AFP)
George Zhao, global president of Honor. (AFP)

Honor to take the smartphone battle to Xiaomi in India

  • Honor is confident of dislodging Xiaomi from No.1 spot in India's smartphone market, as it has done in China
  • Honor achieved this feat by increasing offline sales channels in China and launching smartphones aimed at millennials

New Delhi: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s smartphone brand Honor is confident of achieving its aim of dislodging Xiaomi Corp. from the number one spot in the Indian smartphone market, a feat that it has achieved in home market China, by increasing offline sales channels and launching more product categories targeted at millennials.

“We have this ambition to become the number one smartphone brand in India. We will design our way to become number one here in terms of market share. In China, we are the number one smartphone brand and there our revenue and market share are better than Xiaomi," George Zhao, global president of Honor, said in an interview.

“However, before becoming number one in market share, it is important to become number one in quality and after-sales service," he said.

Huawei introduced the Honor brand globally in 2013 and in India in 2014, where it sells phones in the range of 8,000 to 45,999.

Honor started production in India about two years ago at a facility in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. It has a research and development centre in Bengaluru.

In the last five years, India has attracted many Chinese smartphone companies, which have now captured this market.

Three of the four top smartphone vendors in India in terms of market share in 2018 were Chinese, according to International Data Corporation’s (IDC’s) Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker of 11 February. The four are Xiaomi with 28.9% market share, South Korea’s Samsung with 22.4% market share, Vivo with 10% market share and Oppo with 7.2% market share. Honor does not even feature among the top five vendors in India, while Xiaomi has sold the highest number of smartphones in the past six quarters.

“We want to give more effort and time to the India market. India is our second largest market after China. Based on this, we must design our India strategy—not based on short term and not based on today but tomorrow," Zhao said.

Huawei had the third largest market share globally at 16.1% for the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker of 30 January. This is more than Xiaomi’s global market share at 7.6%.

Honor is targeting millennials in India to boost sales, and plans to launch new product categories like laptops this year. Apart from phones, it also sells fitness bands, watches, and tablets in India at present. It also plans to build the offline sales ecosystem.

“We want the Indian consumer to see closely and experience our product. We have now authorized our India team to open flagship stores here. They will now work on how many stores to open," he said.

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