Though Huawei's smartphone brand Honor lags its peers, especially Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, in India, its president of consumer business group (India) Peter Zhai is confident about the group's growth trajectory in the Indian market.
Though Huawei’s smartphone brand Honor lags its peers, especially Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, in India, its president of consumer business group (India) Peter Zhai is confident about the group’s growth trajectory in the Indian market. Huawei, the third-largest smartphone vendor globally, launched the Honor brand in India in 2014. The company believes that going ahead innovation and consumer experience will define the Indian market and it will invest in technology to further enhance the overall smartphone consumer experience. “India is a complicated market and we are adapting to it. We are here for the long run and we will go ahead step by step. I’m not worried about what others are saying about my performance, my focus is whether consumers like my products or not. We want to come across as a company that believes in quality,” Zhai told FE.
When asked about its laggard performance compared to other handset makers, especially rival Chinese brands, he explained that though companies work on devising marketing strategy and price innovation in India, which is considered a price-sensitive market, Huawei’s opinion is that only a technology leader can change the market, and not marketing and price. “We are not just a smartphone vendor, we are building next generation networks, cloud, etc. We have a very clear mind that smartphones in future will be the interface to the consumer. Five years back, there were brands (in India) that were on top, but where are they now? Nowhere. This is because they did not follow the trends of the whole industry, which is not just handsets,” Zhai said. He said if network is not good, people would not use too many apps. So as markets matures, people will become more quality conscious. Huawei does not make cheap phones, its motto is to give the consumer the best experience. “We are investing on people and innovation. That’s the key. It’s the long-term sustainable fundamental. Huawei is providing smartphone infrastructure in India. We want to make technology more mature and more adaptive. As this develops, more consumers will use smartphones,” Zhai said.
To achieve this, the company is investing in technology. Its R&D centre in Bangaluru is already the largest outside China. “Besides, we have local investment, not just in tier I cities, but across tier III and tier IV. We are tying up with more partners to go deep. We are asking us this question that when India will be a 400 million smartphone market, which company will lead? This is part of our goal and we need to visualise the whole journey for the next 5-10 years,” he explained. Without disclosing the investment figures, Zhai said Huawei every year invests 10% of its revenue from the Indian market in R&D and the factory. The company set up its manufacturing unit in India in 2016 and started manufacturing the Holly series here. On future launches, Zhai said, “You will see the 7 series, Honor Lite series, the flagship V series. The globally popular Mate and Magic series will be introduced in India, but, we have not decided a time line yet. We will see when is the time to launch these extremely premium devices here. We for sure will bring our mega brands, but its too early to give a time for that”.