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Huawei phones move upmarket

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-05 07:16

Huawei phones move upmarket

Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, presents the new Huawei Mate 9 high-end phablet during the Huawei Global Product Launch in Munich, Germany, on Nov 3, 2016. [Photo / Agencies]

With markets nearly saturated, companies need to lure customers with new designs

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's new flagship smartphone will help expand its presence in the premium segment, as the Chinese tech firm ramps up efforts to compete with Apple Inc in the international smartphone arena, analysts said on Friday.

At a product release on Thursday in Munich, Germany, the Shenzhen-based firm unveiled the high-end Mate 9, which targets business customers, as part of its broad efforts to become the world's biggest smartphone seller within five years.

The handset, priced at $776 in Germany, comes with a dual rear camera developed with the German optics company Leica. It also released a limited version designed by luxury-car maker Porsche AG, which will cost more than $1,500.

Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's consumer business, said Europe is one of the firm's fastest-growing markets, with a growth rate of 105 percent this year.

Started as a telecom equipment maker, Huawei has recently emerged as the world's third-largest smartphone manufacturer. It is launching more expensive handsets to grab a bigger piece of the premium segment, which is suddenly full of opportunity in the wake of Samsung Electronics Co's smartphone recall crisis.

Huawei phones move upmarket

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, presents the new Huawei Mate 9 high-end-phablet during the Huawei Global Product Launch in Munich, Germany, Nov 3, 2016. [Photo / Agencies]

Xiang Ligang, CEO of the telecom industry website cctime.com, said the Mate 9 has an external design very similar to its predecessor, the Mate 8.

"But its performance has been boosted significantly, especially the photo-taking and fast-charging abilities," Xiang said. "The partnership with Leica and Porsche, two renowned brands in Europe, will increase its appeal and share in the above-3,000 yuan ($447) market."

In April, Huawei launched the P9, its first handset equipped with a Leica camera. So far, its sales volume has exceeded 9 million units.

Roger Sheng, research director at Gartner Inc, said the Mate 9 will motivate consumers to upgrade their devices and give Huawei more voice in the high-end segment.

In the third quarter of this year, Huawei saw 23 percent year-on-year growth in its global shipments, while Samsung and Apple declined 13.5 percent and 5.3 percent respectively.

The new device also comes amid intensified competition in China where growth is slowing down. The phone market there is now chiefly driven by replacement users.

Huawei's rival Lenovo Group Ltd also said on Thursday it would intensify efforts to crack the premium market, as it works hard to revive faltering sales.

"We will continue streamlining our product lineup. In the future, Lenovo's smartphones will all fall under the Moto brand," said Lenovo chairman Yang Yuanqing.

According to Yang, the company has sold over 1 million units of the Moto Z, the firm's first modular handset, within three months.

Huawei phones move upmarket

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