Honor Magic Vs is on display at Honor’s stand at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The nearly $1,700 device is Honor’s attempt to challenge Samsung in the foldable smartphone market.
Arjun Karpal | CNBC
Honor CEO George Zhao has a simple philosophy. If you make the best products, the sales numbers of Chinese smartphone makers will follow suit.
In a wide-ranging and rare interview with global media, Zhao mentioned the company’s strategy to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung and hinted at the arrival of new foldable phones.
He also dismissed concerns that Huawei’s spin-off Honor could face the same US sanctions that crippled its former parent company’s operations.
Honor takes aim at Apple and Samsung
Honor launched the Magic Vs foldable phone outside of China this week. The price was close to $1,700 for him. It also unwrapped its high-end flagship phone, the Honor Magic5 Pro.
Under Huawei, Honor focused on mid-tier smartphones. However, the company is now trying to tap into the high-end market dominated by Apple and Samsung.
Zhao recognizes the challenges Honor faces in its pursuit and takes a cautious approach to growth.
“Our ambition [is to] Making things better for today…and in the future, we target how we satisfy our customers. And these two points, [if] If you make it healthy, you will automatically get growth, targets and sales numbers,” said Zhao.
“If you just ask for volume… you will eventually lose.”
Honor just launched its first phone outside of China last year after being sold by Huawei in 2020. And it’s a difficult time for Honor to enter the market. In 2022, smartphone shipments will drop to his lowest level since 2013. However, according to data from Canalys, his high-end smartphones above $800 will account for 18% of the total mobile phone market in 2022, up from his 11% in 2020.
That’s why Honor is chasing this category. But Honor still lags behind Apple and Samsung.
According to data from Counterpoint Research, the company’s global market share in 2022 was 4.6%, compared to Samsung’s 21.2% and Apple’s 18.3%.
More foldables ahead
At this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Honor underscored its ambition to become a global player with a huge stand showcasing its latest products. It was right next to Samsung’s exhibition, which emphasized its desire to be seen in the same vein as the South Korean giant.
Honor has a large Magic Vs poster with the tagline “Unleash the Magic”.
Honor had a large booth at Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile show held in Barcelona. The company showed off its latest flagship devices, including Magic Vs.
Arjun Karpal | CNBC
Foldables were the star of the show for Honor. Foldable devices were pioneered by his Samsung, which released the first smartphone of its kind in 2019. Other companies, mainly China, have followed suit. And now they are starting to release them on the world stage. These smartphones have bendable screens.
Oppo launched the Find N2 Flip last month, but the CEO of Lenovo, which owns Motorola, told CNBC that another foldable phone from Razr will launch this year.
According to research firm IDC, foldables will account for just 1.1% of total smartphone shipments in 2022, and are expected to grow to 2.8% by 2026. Now the battery life of these smartphones.
Mr. Zhao declined to discuss sales targets, but said the company is focused on making the best foldable products, which will help the company grow.
“Our ambition and goal is to develop the best foldable mobile phone and to become the number one technology for foldable mobile phones. If we can do this, the market will get better and better, and the brand will , I believe all of these can grow on this product,” Zhao told CNBC.
Magic Vs now folds like a book. Other companies such as Samsung and Oppo have launched devices that fold up like traditional flip phones. Honor does not have such a smartphone, but Zhao said the company is “seriously” considering it.
“Frankly, we’re considering this. How, when, I can’t disclose too much. But the direction… we’re seriously considering it.” he said.
Huawei History of Honor
Honor was a brand of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. However, US sanctions in 2020 cut Huawei off of a critical chip and prevented Google from accessing his Android software. It crippled the corporate mobile business. Huawei was once the best in the world.
To help keep the brand alive, in 2020 Huawei sold the honor to a consortium of buyers, including the city government of Shenzhen, where the company is headquartered.
This allowed Honor to regain access to critical chips and software they needed. Honor will launch its first phone as an independent brand in January 2021.
So far, Honor has emerged from the geopolitical and technological feud between the US and China. And CEO Zhao isn’t worried that sanctions similar to those imposed on Huawei will eventually be imposed on independent honors.
“Why should we worry about this? Our business model is like Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi,” said Zhao, adding that other Chinese smartphone makers not subject to sanctions I mentioned
“We provide value to the industry, end consumers, markets and partners. We also know this is open competition and an open market. We follow all policies and , doing business in that country.”