Honor reported to launch flagship series in July, may claim Huawei’s ‘lost share’ overseas
Published: Mar 15, 2021 07:23 PM
Huawei Honor 9X unveiling ceremony in July, 2019 Photo: Xinhua

Honor 9X unveiling ceremony in July, 2019 Photo: Xinhua

Honor, the budget smartphone brand that was divested by Huawei amid US chip restrictions, is developing rapidly and will reportedly launch "its first true flagship series" in July. The company said in January it would move to the mid- to high-end market segments.

According to a report from Tencent News Yixian, Honor will release its "flagship product" as soon as July - its first since it split from Huawei.

"Not surprisingly, Qualcomm's latest flagship chip, the Snapdragon 888, will be used this time," the report said, citing insiders.

Honor said it was not aware of the matter when approached by the Global Times on Monday.

"To split from Huawei was a wise choice, or the two might have died together," Jiang Junmu, chief writer at Chinese telecom industry news website, told the Global Times on Monday.

Huawei is still under extreme pressure from the US, and it cannot get access to key supplies to support its high-end products' growth.

The Biden administration has further restricted companies from selling components like semiconductors, antennas and batteries that support Huawei's 5G devices, Bloomberg reported on March 12, citing people familiar with the move. 

Honor on the other hand has resumed cooperation with all suppliers, including Qualcomm, Micron, MediaTek, Samsung, Microsoft and Intel, the company confirmed with the Global Times in January.

On January 22, Honor released its V40 smartphone series, its first new handset after leaving Huawei. During the launch event, Honor CEO Zhao Ming said it had been an extremely difficult but very meaningful time over the past months, adding that Honor aims to build a "global iconic technology brand" that would move to the mid- to high-end markets in the future.

Previously, Honor mainly focused on low-end handsets. Its goal of becoming a "high-end and global iconic brand" means Honor will officially become a rival of Huawei.

"The next step for Honor is to retake lost ground overseas, both its own share and that of Huawei," Jiang said.

Jiang cautioned that Honor's road in the domestic market may be tough. "Without Huawei's self-developed chips, Honor now has no competitive edge compared with its counterparts like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo."

TrendForce, a global provider of market intelligence on technology-related industries, said that a tight chip supply may be also a problem for Honor, as due to US sanctions against Huawei, Honor had not yet had a chance to purchase mobile phone components for the first half of 2021.

Global Times