NEW DELHI: Huawei-owned smartphone brand Honor said that it has the capability and resources to launch new handsets in India and globally despite being added to an “entity list” of companies barred from receiving US-made hardware and software components without permission from the American government.
In an interview with ET, Honor India President Charles Peng said that the company has a full strategy in place for its handset business under the Honor brand. “Honor is one of the fast-growing brands globally. This year, our short-term target is to provide products with good quality and good after-sales services. We want to achieve 10% market share in 2020 calendar year in India.”
Honor had 2.3% volume market share in the April-June quarter of 2019, as per Counterpoint.
Speaking on capabilities to produce new handsets, the executive said that the company has alternatives available when it comes to hardware and software. “…that’s why we are able to launch new products. We have the capability to launch new products…we are prepared for everything.”
The executive said that its handset business in India is being supported by Google and other component suppliers not just in India, but globally.
However, Huawei still is keen on continuing its work with global companies, including US-based companies to do business and survive. “American companies are great companies, they are technology leaders globally…for software, we want to work with Indian companies. India has our biggest R&D center.
“For software, everything is fine now. Google and our hardware supply chain also communicated to the American government that they will support,” he said, adding that all existing and new smartphones will continue to get access to latest Android updates and security.
ET recently reported that Honor was downsizing its Indian operations following falling sales. Peng, however, said that Honor will continue to hire people to support the target of achieving 10% market share
The executive claimed that Honor handsets are being manufactured by US-based Flex in Chennai and there has been no halt in production. He added that the Huawei Consumer Business management is also considering establishing its own manufacturing set up in the country, but nothing has been finalised yet. “India is a top priority for us.”
Huawei had last week launched its own operating system, HarmonyOS, as an alternative to Google’s Android. The new OS can support all kind of connected devices. “This new OS can work on the handset. We want to continue with Google but we have this backup… for handsets, we want to use Android,” he added.
Huawei through Honor brand is also continuing its investments in India, Peng said, adding that 15% of the overall sales in India is going towards local research and development (R&D), which is in line with the global strategy. “We will keep investing in India.”
Honor is now preparing to launch its new X smartphone series soon in India. It was launched in China on July 23. In addition, it is also preparing to launch its Smart Screen TV in India this year.
Peng said that Honor will expand its accessories business by launching new smartbands. It is aiming for a 10% market share by 2019-end, up from 7% in the January-March quarter.
Currently, 80%-90% of Honor sales network is online but it is aiming to achieve a ratio of 80% online and 20% offline sales.
Honor’s parent brand Huawei recently tied up with Micromax to expand offline distribution. Asked if Honor is also adopting the same strategy, Peng said, “We are open to discuss cooperation with retailers and channel partners in India. We also welcome our competitors to discuss coverage with us. We keep talking to everyone and are open.”