“We have an ‘India first’ focus strategy for Honor”


Delivering one meaningful innovation after another – Honor has gained a lot of popularity amongst the Indian smartphone consumer segment. With its unique ‘India First’ strategy – the brand is clearly moving on the fast lane when it comes to garnering growth in India.

P. Sanjeev, Vice President Sales, Huawei India – Consumer Business Group interacts with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s current strategy and its future plans for India.

What are the key priorities for Honor as a brand today? Is it still focused towards the online space?

We have evolved over the last three and a half years. And over all these years, we have out the consumer ahead. So talking about online or offline is not our priority. Our priority is how we do we focus on the consumer? How do we get the right product – at the right price and efficiently to the consumer. And if it is the online channel or the offline channel – we will choose both.

Our strategy is not to say that we want to focus only in the online space. We want to be among the top three brands.

Another reason we are bullish on India is the fact that China market is declining and India market is expected to have almost 340 million smartphone users, 15 per cent growth and if you look at our 2022 strategy as well – we will have at least 0.5 billion smartphone users in the country. And with that 0.5 billion – we will still be having about 40 per cent penetration in the market. So the market potential for India for the next five years is very bright.

So in this scenario how are you as a brand going to disrupt the big players in India?

Yes we will be doing that, because we have done it globally. We want to take our own benchmark, because we want to take o the biggies. I will tell you about some of the pillars that are going to help us on to achieve this. We have an ‘India first’ focus strategy for Honor. This is not just a marketing buzzword for us.

Our factory in Chennai is growing at 700 per cent. Then we have the capability to do the CKD, SMT lines – the finest production is coming up.

The ‘Make in India’ was a very smart move by the government. The phase manufacturing program is the most intelligent manufacturing program in the world. First the government encouraged us to do SKD – we realized that we can bring in quality.

And then the phase manufacturing program pushed us and encouraged us to move to CKD – wherein PCB level manufacturing is happening. For Honor – outside, China, India would be the most successful manufacturing program that we had.

Honor has been coming up with many speck heavy products in India. How has the brand done vis a vis its competition?

Being a pioneer in dual camera and now AI, we have always believed in providing best in class features at competitive price points and this has helped our brand gain a lot of momentum in the market.

Additionally, by providing the features like fingerprint lock, face unlock and dual front and back camera in a sub 10k device, we are able to access the consumers’ needs in every segments respectively.
Our service centers have also contributed to our success to which we have put in 21 exclusive centers in 21 top cities that contributes 60 per cent to smartphone business.

With deep roots in the country, with the help of our R&D center in Bangalore and manufacturing facility in Chennai, we are able to adapt our products to meet the demands of the Indian consumer.

Honor aims to become the number 5 player in 3 years and number 3 in the next five years globally. We hope to achieve these number by providing great products at compelling prices.

What are your efforts to drive R&D from India and bring in more Indianised products?

One feature which we got in India was the ‘Ride Mode’. In India we do not encourage riding and talking. It is the most riskiest thing, so we came up with ‘Ride Mode’ which is quite simple to activate and whether you are in a car or on a bike, you can just click it and the user will know that you are driving. So this feature was done from our Bengaluru based R&D center.

Other than this, we have done single touch activation for Paytm – a popular digital payment App – we have done this with the help of the fingerprint sensor.

And then we have also incorporated the SOS capability. We were the first to have this capability especially for the women users, that was done by the Indian R&D as well.

How do you look at the trend of having the camera as the center of a smartphone?

Camera has become very very important. We have embraced AI (artificial intelligence) in a very big and quite early on. We have worked on this neural processing unit based silicon. Which is basically 5 billion transistors in one square centimeter – working with the CPU and the GPU and it processes data and images at a much faster pace.

So, as a result of this capability – our products such as Honor 10 have got tremendous AI driven capabilities on the camera side. It can recognizes the scenario, is it food? is it low light? Is it an animal? Human or portrait etc…..and it automatically suggest settings to the user. All this is possible because of the AI capabilities of the AI suggest engine that we comes in-built with Honor 10. And it is happening at the software as well as hardware level.

There are many brands which are simply using AI to market their products. It is quite unfortunate. For us AI means a lot more than just photography – we are using AI in the power management, we are using AI in enabling noise cancellation filters. For us AI means working with Google for augmented reality, working with Microsoft for brilliance translation features and working with our hardware to give our consumers the best AI capability.