After a hiatus spanning three years, China’s leading smartphone brand, Honor, is staging a comeback to the Indian smartphone sector, introducing its latest device, the Honor 90. This new offering is not a debutant, as it’s already gracing shelves in various global locations such as Malaysia, Europe, the Middle East, and the U.K.
Diving into the past, under the aegis of Huawei, Honor was an active player in the Indian market. However, a notable turn of events in November 2020 witnessed Huawei parting ways with Honor, selling it to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, a government-backed entity. This transition resulted in Honor discreetly wrapping up its operations in India and orchestrating a workforce shift to Dubai. The chronology saw the last of Honor’s devices launching in India in late July 2020, post which, the brand’s Indian social media presence faded.
Nevertheless, Honor’s strategic roadmap didn’t involve a complete Indian market withdrawal. In a shrewd move, the company allied with PSAV Global to oversee the distribution and after-sales service of its gadgets in India. With offices in both Hong Kong and India, PSAV Global introduced Honor’s range of wearables, tablets, and laptops to the Indian audience. For smartphones, however, they trusted HTech (previously HonorTech), which boasts the erstwhile Realme India chief, Madhav Sheth, in its directorial team. This association witnessed a rebranding episode in early August, indicating a desire to diversify beyond just the Honor brand.
HTech is presently the torchbearer for Honor smartphones in India, working under a licensing agreement. With plans to transit technology from Honor Global to Indian shores, HTech has earmarked an investment of upwards of $120 million. The ambitious blueprint envisions revenues touching $1.2 billion, a 5% market share by December 2024, and the kick-starting of indigenous manufacturing by the onset of next year, as Sheth revealed in recent media interactions.
Honor’s Indian re-entry underscores the immense potential the Indian smartphone market offers. Strategic collaborations and astute branding can pave the way for success, even after prolonged absences.