Huawei tar­gets top-end mar­ket with it­sMate 9

Com­pe­ti­tion re­mains fierce with Oppo, vivo for big­ger share on home turf

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By MASI in Shanghai masi@chi­

Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd aims to re­gain its top po­si­tion in China with its lat­est flag­ship smart­phone Mate 9 se­ries, af­ter it lost ground to do­mes­tic ri­val Oppo Elec­tron­ics Corp in the third quar­ter of the year.

The Shen­zhen-based firm launched the new hand­sets in its home mar­ket on Mon­day, mark­ing its lat­est ef­fort to grab a big­ger share of the high-end seg­ment, which is full of op­por­tu­ni­ties af­ter Samsung Elec­tron­ics Co’s smart­phone re­call cri­sis.

TheMate 9 Pro, the high-end ver­sion first un­veiled in China, starts from 4,699 yuan ($686). It comes with a 2K curved screen and a dual rear cam­era, de­vel­oped with the Ger­man op­tics com­pany Le­ica. The lim­ited ver­sion de­signed by lux­u­rycar maker Porsche AG is priced at 8,999 yuan in China, far less ex­pen­sive than its price in Ger­many, which ex­ceeds $1,500.

Yu Cheng­dong, CEO of Huawei’s con­sumer busi­ness, said theMate 9 se­ries phones are de­signed to tar­get busi­ness con­sumers who need to do mul­ti­task­ing on smart­phones.

In the third quar­ter, Oppo over­took Huawei as the big­gest smart­phone ven­dor in China for the first time, with a mar­ket share of 18 per­cent and a quar­terly hand­set ship­ment of 22.5 mil­lion units. In the same time frame, the Huawei mar­ket share was 15 per­cent with 18 mil­lion units shipped, ac­cord­ing to data from Shanghai-based con­sul­tancy Canalys.

Oppo’s rapid rise dove­tails with its strength in off­line re­tail­ing chan­nels, which played a very big part in boost­ing sales in the third Ni­cole Peng, quar­ter of the year, said Ni­cole Peng, re­search di­rec­tor at Canalys.

“But in the fourth quar­ter, e-com­merce sales will be of high im­por­tance, be­cause the Sin­gles Day shop­ping spree, the world’s largest on­line shop­ping fes­ti­val, falls dur­ing the pe­riod. Huawei, which has a sub-brand Honor tar­get­ing the on­line pop­u­la­tion, will have a big ad­van­tage,” she added.

The new prod­uct launch also came af­ter Samsung re­called its newly launched Gal­axy Note 7 in Oc­to­ber to pre­vent fur­ther bat­tery ex­plo­sions.

James Yan, re­search di­rec­tor at Coun­ter­point Tech­nol­ogy Mar­ket Re­search, was op­ti­mistic about the Mate 9’s per­for­mance in China, where Huawei has es­tab­lished its brand as a good op­tion for whitecol­lar work­ers.

“The monthly ship­ments of the Mate 9 are likely to reach 700,000 to 800,000 units, roughly equal to the sales per­for­mance of its pre­de­ces­sor, theMate 8,” Yan said.

But, it is dif­fi­cult to say whether Huawei can re­gain the crown. Af­ter all, the next months will see the fiercest com­pe­ti­tion among China’s top three smart­phone ven­dors, namely Oppo, Huawei and vivo Mo­bile Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd, whose ship­ments are very, very close, he added.

Huawei, which has a sub-brand Honor tar­get­ing the on­line pop­u­la­tion, will have a big ad­van­tage.” re­search di­rec­tor at Shanghai-based con­sul­tancy Canalys

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