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China technology

Honor bids to extend winning streak in China with new Note 10 phone which has tablet-sized screen

Launch comes one week after research report said Huawei had extended its lead in China’s smartphone market, with strong contribution from budget Honor brand

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 7:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 August, 2018, 10:59am

Honor, Huawei’s budget smartphone maker, has unveiled a new mid-priced model which comes equipped with an extra-large screen and is aimed at building on the brand’s recent streak of success in China.

Honor’s latest flagship phone, the Note 10, uses Huawei Technologies’ own Kirin 970 AI chipset and has a 6.95-inch sized screen – the largest ever made by the company – and a 5,000 mAh battery.

The Honor Note 10, starting from 2,799 yuan (US$410), is smaller in overall size than the Honor Note 8 due to its bezel-less and notch-free screen design, which allows consumers to hold the phone more comfortably, Zhao Ming, Honor’s president, said during the launch ceremony in Beijing on Tuesday.

The Note 10 launch comes one week after global industry research firm Canalys said Huawei had extended its lead in China’s smartphone market, with more than half of its handset sales coming from the Honor brand. Huawei’s two smartphone brands expanded their combined market share to a record 27 per cent in the three months to June, up from 21 per cent during the same period a year ago, marking the biggest share of any smartphone vendor in China since the second quarter of 2011, according to Canalys.

Honor contributed 55 per cent of the group’s entire shipments in the past quarter, up from 33 per cent a year ago, according to the report. Honor, which tends to focus its marketing on the younger generation, competes with other Chinese brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi in the 1,000-3,000 yuan handset price segment.

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In the first six months of 2018, Honor sold a total of 26.1 million handsets, outstripping Xiaomi’s 24.6 million, according to Zhao, adding that 76 per cent of Honor users are below 35 years’ old. “The competition between Honor and Xiaomi is over. We’re squarely focused on becoming a top three smartphone vendor in China now,” said Zhao Ming on Tuesday.

The new Note 10 further blurs the line between smartphones and tablets, according to Zaker Li, a senior industry analyst with IHS Markit. Apple’s iPad mini 4, which has a 7.9-inch screen, sells for 3,259 yuan with 128GB of memory and Wi-fi across official channels in China. However, a “large screen will not necessarily boost sales as some consumers may find it too heavy or too big to carry,” Li said.

Huawei, China’s leading smartphone brand and also the world’s largest telecom equipment vendor, is on track to ship 200 million handsets to both domestic and global markets in 2018, bringing it within reach of Apple as the second-largest vendor globally behind Samsung, said mobile segment chief Richard Yu Chengdong in mid-July. Huawei shipped 100 million phones as of July 18, the fastest pace of shipments in years, said the executive.

Honor will launch the new handset in overseas markets in coming months and will be looking to extend its global reach, after booking overseas sales growth of 150 per cent in the first six months this year, said Zhao, without disclosing more detailed sales numbers.

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Smartphone sales in India, UK and Spain expanded 300 per cent, 200 per cent and 500 per cent respectively in the first half of 2018, and Honor became the second-largest smartphone vendor in Russia in the second quarter, overtaking Apple, said Zhao.

In June, Huawei also unveiled a new “turbocharged” graphics processing technology that it said would put it ahead of other Android-based phones when it comes to mobile gaming. The GPU Turbo technology, which is used in the Honor Note 10 series, is able to improve graphics processing efficiency by 60 per cent while reducing energy consumption by 30 per cent, giving it an edge in mobile gaming over competitors including the iPhone X, said the company.