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South Africa remains ‘important’ market for Huawei

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 05 Mar 2021

Huawei’s smartwatch is number one in the South African market, according to Consumer Business Group SA CTO Akhram Mohamed, noting this is despite being “brand new” in the wearable space.

Mohamed made the comment yesterday during the Huawei Better Together 2021 virtual event, sharing a 2021 snapshot for the company in the local market. He was joined by Jun Sun, general manager for Huawei Consumer Business Group in SA.

He explained: “We have a clear vision long-term. We don’t only want to come and say this is the new product coming out, but we want to say – this is the intention and the thinking behind that product and how it’s going to improve lives.

“Wearables, for example, are very practical. It’s not just about having a smartwatch…it is a lifestyle device, especially in these times where we are now tracking our health and our fitness.

“It’s no longer just about tracking steps, but also your heart rate, and giving you recommendations on how to improve and better your physical activity.”

During the event, the company did not make any new product announcements, but did reveal its flagship Mate 40 Pro, which has already been released globally, will be available in SA in April across all its operator channels.

“We have strong brand equity in this country and we hope to release many more new devices in the future in various product categories,” stated Mohamed.

Reflecting on the future and potential launch of P50-series flagship smartphones, he was tight-lipped.

“South Africa remains an important market for Huawei and is one of the top markets that we consider for our flagship launches. This hasn’t changed and will be the same in the future.

“However, right now, all I can say is that we can’t reveal much about these devices because they haven’t been launched yet,” he commented.

Jun added: “Our journey from our beginnings to where we are now in South Africa has been nothing short of phenomenal. South Africa is one of the most important pioneering markets for Huawei. We are committed to continue using our technology to improve the lives of South Africans around the country.”

Responding to a question about the company’s own operating system, HarmonyOS, Mohamed wouldn’t be drawn to confirm any timelines, only stating: “For some existing phone models, including GSM phones, users can determine whether to upgrade to HarmonyOS or not.

“We’ll provide continuous technical support and ensure consistent user experience for users who choose not to upgrade to HarmonyOS.”

Huawei Consumer Business Group SA CTO Akhram Mohamed.
Huawei Consumer Business Group SA CTO Akhram Mohamed.

Mohamed said the focus is on driving a “seamless AI [artificial intelligence] life” strategy for SA in 2021.

According to Huawei, its strategy for the hyper-connected era in SA is mainly focused on smartphones, wearables, tablets, PCs and Internet of things devices.

This, says the company, forms part of the global vision of delivering an intelligent experience to consumers in SA across all scenarios, including health, fitness and overall lifestyle.

Mohamed stated: “In an age where everybody is competing around camera sizes, screen sizes and all of these other things, what’s next? Technology really needs to be something where you don’t even have to think about what it needs to do for you.

“You need to do a task and it should be immediately accessible and simple, and that is what a seamless AI life is about. We are starting to see right now in South Africa how that has progressed as well.

“For most South Africans, they had to either upgrade their technologies, they had to get additional devices, and get more resources. For e-commerce, the adoption has increased drastically.”