Huawei Honor to focus on Southeast Asia in 2018

On March 12, Huawei off-shoot Honor released the 7C mobile phone priced at 899 yuan ($143), equipped with dual-cameras. Ming Zhao, president of the Huawei Honor Brand, announced Honor’s most recent achievements at a press conference.

Honor 7C launch event

Mobile phone sales data released in January 2018 showed that Honor, a sub-brand of Huawei, had reached 2.645 million units in sales volume, ranking first in online and offline internet brands. In 2018, Honor will focus on overseas markets. Since the second half of last year, Honor had entered Southeast Asian countries such as Burma, Vietnam and Malaysia, and is now available in 74 countries.

Zhao revealed in an interview that both the Vietnamese and the Burmese markets were selected last year: “Last December, we organized a training course for Honor operation, during which we chose Honor partners and decided on other work. In less than three months, Honor products were sold in Vietnam.” Zhao also said that he will not put excessive pressure on Honor sales teams in these countries this year, as he only wishes for Honor to become one of the top three market competitors within three years. He said, “First of all, we need to build up our capabilities in these countries.”

Ming Zhao, President of the Huawei Honor Brand

As of March 2018, Honor grew by more than 100 percent in overseas markets. Zhao hopes to recreate the Chinese market in overseas markets within three years. This year, overseas markets are expected to exceed a 100 percent growth rate. Zhao aims to have overseas market sales account for more than 50 percent of overall Honor sales in the future.

“Huawei and Honor will operate separately. Huawei brand is moving towards the high-end market, and Honor is for the younger population. They each deal with different customer groups and markets”, said Huawei Founder Zhengfei Ren in the first Huawei President’s email in 2018. He also said, “We want Honor to thrive in the overseas market. Adhering to domestic and foreign regulations, we should build up the Honor brand in overseas markets as soon as possible. Huawei’s Consumer Business Management Committee and Consumer Business Group should help Honor accelerate the deployment of global organizations and teams.”

In an interview, Zhao said, “There have been concerns of whether Huawei and Honor are suitable for overseas markets. In Europe, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, Honor can find a reasonable position and achieve rapid development.” Zhao thinks that Honor can be more open to choosing suitable marketing and sales methods this year.

Recently, three U.S. agencies including the CIA, FBI and the U.S. National Security Agency warned people against buying Huawei and other Chinese smartphones, which seriously affected Huawei. The Huawei Mate SE, the overseas edition of the Honor 7X, had also been adversely affected by the warning.

Following this turn of events, Honor will shift focus onto Southeast Asian countries.

Starting this year, Ren will strengthen the development of non-high-end phones, as he believes this will guarantee Huawei’s profitability. More than ten million units of the Honor A series and over 30 million units of the C series were sold last year. Coupled with the rapid development of overseas markets, Honor has played an important role in the growth of sales and overseas markets of Huawei’s mobile phone business.

In addition to Southeast Asian countries, Honor was among the top three in Finnish and Russian markets in January 2018.

China’s smartphone companies have shifted from pursuing growth in shipment volumes to survival and profitability. Overseas markets have become the main way for many Chinese phone manufacturers to have new growth and profits. In 2017, Honor set a new strategic goal to expand in overseas markets, and to become one of the top five phone brands in global sales by 2020.

This article originally appeared in 36Kr and was translated by Pandaily.