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Huawei spin-off Honor targets SA’s IOT market

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 09 May 2023
Daniel Wang, president of Honor Middle East and Africa.
Daniel Wang, president of Honor Middle East and Africa.

Chinese smartphone maker Honor says it’s on track to capture a significant share of SA's smartphone market, as it prepares to introduce internet of things (IOT) services in the short- to medium-term.

Despite SA’s highly-competitive smartphone market, the Huawei spin-off says it started the year on a strong note, with 2023 having so far been a robust and encouraging year in terms of smartphone sales.

The smartphone maker, which introduced its devices locally in 2021, previously told ITWeb that it is gunning for the top three position in the local smartphone industry − eyeing at least 10% of the market share.

As part of this plan, the company says it is aggressively executing its strategy to bring its all-round flagship smartphones to Africa, as it continues to diversify its product portfolio beyond mobile phones.

In a written interview with ITWeb, Daniel Wang, president of Honor Middle East and Africa (MEA), discussed the company’s strategy in the region. He highlighted Honor’s plans to set itself apart from fellow Android competitors by boosting its product offering and partnership network, as it looks to roll out a wide range of IOT services and solutions in SA.

“Honor believes in a ‘glocal’ approach. South Africa and other MEA countries are key for our overall global strategy. In the South African market, we will expand and deliver the full product portfolio, from smartphones to tablets and laptops to smartwatches.

“We will also offer IOT products in this market, which will deliver a seamless experience to our users. We believe in investing in our brand and continuously enhancing our product offerings along with futuristic tech features.

“We are differentiating ourselves from competitors by shifting from a device-centric approach, to a human-centric one, to create a new smart world for everyone, and tearing down boundaries between devices,” said Wang.

Honor’s portfolio of IOT device management solutions will include full-scenario IOT products, such as headsets, smart screens, laptops, tablets and routers, notes the company.

It is treading on the tail of fellow Chinese smartphone rivals Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo and Huawei, among others, which also provide users with IOT-related services beyond phone devices.

Xiaomi ventured into the global IOT market in 2020, while Samsung has been offering IOT devices for years.

Oppo also provides users with cloud-based IOT offerings, through the Oppo Cloud and Oppo+ services; however, the product is not yet available in SA.

Through its IOT Cloud Infrastructure platform, Huawei offers a range of cloud services, including an IOT platform, big data, security and management.

Striking out on its own

Honor separated from Huawei in November 2020, amid the sanctions faced by the latter in the US. Huawei decided to sell Honor to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, in an effort to save the brand.

At the time, the Chinese technology giant said the sale would help Honor's channel sellers and suppliers make it through the difficult time.

Under new ownership, Honor’s devices are equipped with Google Mobile Services, which are the Google apps that often come pre-installed on Android devices.

Honor will continue its strong focus on rolling out new smartphones in key MEA markets, especially SA, as it reinforces its ambition of securing the top three brand position in SA by 2024, notes Wang.

In terms of its products, the device manufacturer has different smartphone categories, including its X Series, with pricing for the middle to low-end market.

The Honor number series, which includes Honor 50, Honor 50 Lite and Honor 70, is for the middle to high-end market, while the Magic Series is for the premium devices market.

“Honor has made a lot of progress since becoming independent and is on a healthy trajectory to continue to grow and create value for consumers, partners and industry peers.

“Prior to independence, we were a leading tech brand for global youth. As we set out on our own, we wanted to break into the premium segment and expand our range of consumers and offerings,” says Wang.

As part of its plans to bring its “dual-flagship” strategy to life, this year the company launched its new flagship products − the HONOR Magic5 Series, HONOR Magic Vs and HONOR MagicOS − which received a positive reception in SA.

It is also looking at introducing more affordable phones in SA, which is known to be a price-sensitive market.

“The South African smartphone market is growing rapidly and highly-competitive, with consumers showing a strong appetite for a wide range of smartphones.

“We remain committed to innovative technology solutions that meet the evolving needs of the South African market. We also aim to continue providing innovative technology solutions that meet the evolving needs of the South African market.

“We observed the growing demand for affordable smartphones with advanced features, and as such, we are constantly exploring the introduction of new products tailored to meet these needs,” notes Wang.

The Honor X8a, released in February.
The Honor X8a, released in February.