With home sales declining, Chinese next-generation Android smartphone makers, led by Honor and Realme, are looking for a strong overseas push

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Their initiatives reflect an industrywide concern after first-quarter shipments in mainland China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, decreased 14% year on year to 74.2 million units amid weak consumer spending and Covid-19-related disruptions. “The macro-environment will impact all smartphone makers,” Honor chief executive Zhao Ming said on Monday during the company’s launch of its 70-series 5G handsets. “Honor is prepared to look for new growth beyond smartphones and invest in overseas markets.”

China’s next-generation Android smartphone producers, headed by Honor and Realme, are trying to grow sales in overseas markets as demand on the mainland falls due to the government’s zero-Covid-19 policy, which has slowed economic activity. According to separate remarks made lately by the two businesses’ top management, Honor, formerly Huawei Technologies Co’s budget smartphone company, and Realme, formerly an Oppo sub-brand, are stepping up their efforts in abroad markets to encourage fresh development.

Highlights

  • “All brands face risks when venturing abroad during this pandemic, and it will be harder for Honor because we are only at the starting stage of exploring the global market,” Zhao said on Monday. Free phone and cheap plans: YTL makes 5G accessible to all Malaysians. He also said that he agreed with industry estimates that domestic smartphone shipments could fall under 300 million units this year. On his company’s performance, Zhao said: “I can predict that Honor can maintain healthy growth in the next three months, but it’s hard for me to predict total sales in 2022.”

  • Honor, which is majority owned by state-owned enterprises controlled by the municipal government of Shenzhen, has already entered 16 new overseas markets this year. Zhao said Honor’s overseas push will entail increased focus on the high-end smartphone segment, according to a report published this week by state-backed media outlet The Time Weekly. Honor confirmed Zhao’s remarks.

“China is facing bigger market pressure, but we are optimistic about overseas markets in which we observe notable growth momentum,” Realme vice-president Xu Qi said in a media briefing on Sunday. He said the local smartphone industry’s goal this year is to match the overall domestic market volume of 10 million units in 2021.

Realme has been focused on high-end 5G smartphones like its GT Master Edition model, which was released last year. Photo: Shutterstock
While Shenzhen-based budget smartphone maker Realme expected overseas markets to help drive the company’s business, it predicted global industry shipments this year to decline between 10 and 20%.

“The domestic smartphone market has been on a downward trajectory since February this year,” Zhou wrote in a report last week. “In addition, consumers are not keen for upgrades because of the lack of significant advancements or innovations in terms of chips and functionalities.”

Chinese Android smartphone vendors, meanwhile, have stepped up their product launches. In May, Honor launched its Magic4 Pro smartphone in the UK. Vivo – the world’s No 5 smartphone vendor in the first quarter, according to Counterpoint – also rolled out in the same month its latest X80-series handset in collaboration with German optical systems maker Carl Zeiss across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, South America and Europe. – South China Morning Post

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