Chinese smartphone brand Honor is set to relaunch in India through a licensing deal with a local company and plans to start domestic production early next year, the head of the company told Reuters.

Honor has stopped selling smartphones in India and reportedly pulled back last year due to a limited marketing budget and less prudent portfolio management.

“India wasn’t a key market for Huawei’s Honor phone until 2020, when the company was forced to spin off the brand and reassess its strategy,” said Neil Shah, vice president at Counterpoint Research.

Honor’s comeback has been fueled by a licensing agreement with a newly formed Gurgaon-based Honor Technologies that does not disclose “negotiated costs” related to technology and hardware transfers.

The company will launch three Honor phones in India, with the mid-range Number series expected to launch in September.

The company, wholly owned by local shareholders, will manufacture, sell and service Honor-branded smartphones in India.

“All phones will eventually be made in India,” Chief Executive Madhav Sheth said, without giving further details.

“The biggest challenge the (Indian) government has faced in the past is how can (Chinese) brands be held accountable in India?” said Sheth, a former executive at rival Realme, who has been credited with expanding in India.

Chinese companies have struggled in India recently, with the Indian government banning several apps and stepping up scrutiny of investments to avoid takeovers by neighboring countries.

According to Counterpoint Research, Honor will compete with the likes of Samsung Electronics, the top seller in India with nearly 20 percent market share, followed by Vivo, Xiaomi, Realme and others.

Honor Technology aims to have a 5% share of the Indian smartphone market in terms of sales by 2024, with a revenue of at least Rs 10 lakh. 100 billion rupees ($1.2 billion), Sheth said.

© Thomson Reuters 2023


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