Honor resumes ties with chip suppliers, may grab Huawei’s overseas shares
Published: Jan 22, 2021 12:03 PM Updated: Jan 22, 2021 01:06 PM

Photo: Courtesy of Honor

Honor has resumed cooperation with all suppliers, including Qualcomm, Micron, MediaTek, Samsung, Microsoft and Intel, Honor told the Global Times on Friday, a move analysts said could help it embark on an ambitious journey to compete with industry rivals at home and abroad after its split from Huawei.

On Friday, Honor also released its new V40 smartphone series on Friday, its first new handset after the budget phone brand was sold by parent firm Huawei in November last year amid the US chip ban.

The price of the phone will start from 3,599 yuan ($556), according to the firm.

Over the past five months, Honor has had an extremely difficult but very meaningful time, said Honor CEO Zhao Ming at the launch event, adding that Honor aims to build a "global iconic technology brand" that hopes to move to mid- or high-end markets in the future.

Zhao added that Honor has five research bases, more than 100 innovation labs, and 50 percent of staff is focused on research and development (R&D).

The "high-end and global iconic brand" promise also means Honor will officially become a rival of Huawei, despite Huawei's high-end smartphone business experiencing a setback amid the US chip ban. Honor may even end up taking Huawei's overseas market share, analysts said.

Photo: Courtesy of Honor

Huawei officially announced the divestment of its budget smartphone sub-brand Honor in mid-November to ensure the brand's survival after the Trump administration cut off the Chinese tech giant's access to global technology suppliers.

Analysts said that in principle, Honor could access chips and other software from US companies as soon as the spinoff is complete.

Honor had signed an agreement with Microsoft, its first independent deal, after it was sold by Huawei, and will use Windows 10 as its official laptop operating system across the globe.

Photo: Courtesy of Honor

"Honor could compete with other domestic smartphone makers," Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times, noting that it might take advantage of the sales channels that Huawei built up overseas and grab Huawei's market share at home and abroad.

Nevertheless, TrendForce, a global provider of market intelligence on technology-related industries, said that due to US sanctions against Huawei, Honor has not had time to purchase mobile phone components for the first half of 2021.

It's still unclear whether the firm would be accepted by consumers after leaving Huawei and maintain Huawei's strong research and development ability, analysts said.

Honor received R&D teams from South China's Shenzhen, Beijing and Northwest China's Xi'an, Zhao said, adding that Honor has inherited the "highest quality assets of the Huawei system," including the most advanced technology and design.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei has said that he hopes Honor would become Huawei's strongest global competitor and even surpass it. He urged Honor to embrace globalization, and to compete with companies from countries and regions like the UK, US and South Korea. "Being a tech power, the US has many excellent companies. You should be courageous and cooperate with them," he said.