In May 2019 the world belonged to the Chinese. Or at least the world of cell phones. Huawei was competing for the lead in sales with Samsung and Apple seemed to hopelessly slide off the podium. If the performances of the Shenzhen house were added to those of Honor, a sub-brand for young people, but above all of other groups that elbowed behind them, such as the then emerging Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus and their derivatives, there seemed to be no history. Then the world woke up with Trump’s ban on the sale of American technology – and specifically Google Services – to Huawei and we all know how things went.
To save what can be saved, Huawei put the ‘baby of the house’ on the lifeboat of autonomy and entrusted her to the stormy waters of the market. Thirty months later, Honor returned to Europe and, net of the jokes and conspiracies on how much technology of the old owner is still in its devices, we spoke with the country manager Italy Roger Liyn, to understand what he expects from the future.
How much had it grown and what market share had it achieved honor in Italy before the Trump ban?
Honor’s growth was very fast and in Italy we had reached about 10%
What growth prospect do you expect in two years from now, what is the target both in terms of customers and market share?
We currently do not set ourselves a target in terms of market share or shipments. For Honor, the goal is to continue developing global innovation, technology and operational capabilities to better serve our consumers.
With how many models and in what price range will it arrive in Italy?
Honor 50 is available for pre-order starting November 1st only on HiHonor.com at the recommended price of 529 euros. The official sale will start from November 12 on HiHonor, Amazon and in the stores of major operators such as Tim, Vodafone and Wind 3. We focus heavily on the superior camera setup for a vlogging experience and a professional-grade quad rear camera which consists of a 108MP main camera, an 8MP wide angle camera, a 2MP Bokeh camera and a 2MP Macro camera. On the front, the device is equipped with a 32MP wide-angle camera. The 4300mAh battery supports 66W SuperCharge and is able to power the phone at 70% in 20 minutes. A 66W charger is included in the standard sales package. The processor is upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G.
Which element does Honor focus on to win back the Italian market?
We have a strong R&D team that was able to bring the first Android smartphone to the Chinese market. They have tremendous knowledge of consumer demand, innovative technology and product development, which allows us to deliver premium products and experiences to our consumers. We have developed cutting-edge technologies for building platforms in the area of 5G, AI, communications, image processing, software and design. We also possess capabilities in crucial technologies such as GPU Turbo, Link Turbo, multi-camera photography and navigation. In addition, we have accumulated in-depth knowledge in camera technology to develop our image signal processor, which continues to evolve to create a unique experience for our consumers. Over the years, Honor has forged strong, long-term relationships and created shared values with a wide range of local partners. Our team has rich market experience and a strong understanding of local consumer needs, which puts us in the best position to support them in the future.
How much of Huawei technology is left in Honor products?
Honor and Huawei no longer share R&D resources and Honor has developed its own team after becoming independent in November 2020. More than 50% of employees are R&D professionals who are dedicated to developing innovative technologies in four centers and over 100 laboratories worldwide. We continue to invest heavily in R&D capabilities to support the full portfolio of smartphones and other smart devices, aspiring to strike the balance between cutting-edge technology and user experiences.
How are you approaching the chip procurement problem? Is there any prospect of developing proprietary processors?
Qualcomm went through a very rigorous and thorough certification process and became the first group of global partners to reach an agreement with Honor. The 50 series is the first smartphone to use the Snapdragon 778G. The Magic3 series was among the first to launch the Snapdragon 888 Plus. We appreciate the trust Qualcomm has placed in us, which has allowed us to begin fully collaborating with them in such a short time. I believe this has made us overcome the challenges of the industry. Our R&D team has also leveraged its strong debugging capability to solve problems that damage the consumer experience and improve the stability and performance of Qualcomm’s mobile platform.
The exit of Huawei from the Italian market has opened the doors to other Chinese manufacturers, Xiaomi and Oppo above all. What are honor’s main competitors? What is the strategy for snatching market share?
Each smartphone brand has its own strategy for the markets in which it is located. As for Honor, we are focused on developing products and experiences and on our abilities to better serve consumers. To achieve this, we are updating our product portfolio and internal operations to offer products specifically designed for high-end users. We aim to have a complete portfolio for different price ranges. Our flagship series, the Honor Magic series, testifies to best-in-class innovative technology and sets industry standards with its aesthetic design and superior user experience, while the X series represents the accessibility of our technology for all.