Huawei is the third-largest smartphone vendor in the world and is growing far quicker than any of its peers. Although much of this growth is driven by emerging markets, Huawei has prioritized growing its brand in developed markets. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, the company announced that it is bringing the Honor 6X to Western markets as the next step in that push.
Honor 6X highlights Huawei's multiple strengths in the slowing smartphone market
Huawei's dual-brand approach has netted huge benefits for the Chinese company. The Honor brand has successfully challenged Xiaomi in China and is also challenging other "affordable" brands such as OnePlus and Wiko in Western markets. The dual-brand strategy leaves plenty of room for Huawei's flagship P series to challenge Samsung's Galaxy line and surpass HTC's One and Sony's Xperia ranges.
The latest device from Huawei, the Honor 6X, was announced for Western markets at CES at Las Vegas in January 2017. The Honor 6X has been on sale in China since October 2016 and offers high-end specifications for a very competitive price. The Honor 6X boasts a 5.5 inch full HD display, dual-sensor rear camera, 4GB RAM, and a 3340mAh battery, which Huawei claims gives the handset a two-day battery life. The Honor 6X will go on sale in the US for $250, almost half the price of OnePlus 3T ($439), which has similar specifications to the Honor 6X.
Huawei shipped close to 140 million smartphones in 2016, growing 30% from 2015. This growth rate far outstrips that of leaders Samsung and Apple (both of which saw shipment declines in 2016), as well as growing quicker than the likes of Xiaomi or Lenovo. Huawei combines both a low-cost manufacturing and R&D base with a high level of capabilities in R&D and a large marketing budget. Therefore, Huawei is well placed to capitalize on the slowing smartphone market in developed markets, where consumers will still expect innovations but the market will become driven more and more by price.
Ovum expects Huawei to continue growing strongly in 2017, completely replacing HTC, Sony, and LG in most markets as the key challenger to the Apple–Samsung duopoly in the high-end market.
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"Devices Review 4Q16: Wearables, Drones, and Exploding Phones," TE0004-001109 (November 2016)
Daniel Gleeson, Senior Analyst, Consumer Technology