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Huawei MateBook X. Photo: Handout

NewHuawei debuts in the laptop world with three new models


China’s technology giant Huawei Technologies unveiled three new Matebook products in Berlin on Tuesday, in an effort to expand income channels for its consumer business group.

Of the three newly launched products, the Matebook X and Matebook D series, which feature indivisible keyboards in a conventional clamshell design.

The MateBook X is an easy-to-carry 13-inch fanless laptop which is also the first notebook to feature Dolby Atmos Sound System with speakers co-designed with Dolby. Available in grey, gold and rose gold, the colour options show that Huawei is seeking to broaden its appeal to female consumers.

The Matebook E series features a 2-in-1 tablet with a folio-style keyboard that rivals Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface products. The 15.6-inch Matebook D series features high-end specifications that reflect a major improvement over the debut Matebooks last year.

The D series and E series, which are targeted at mid-range markets, are priced starting from 799 (US$893.4) and 999 respectively. Huawei has priced its premium X series between 1,399 and 1,799 euro, depending on specifications.

Huawei MateBook X. Photo: Handout

The new MateBooks, which will begin shipping this summer, feature “a stunning new design aesthetic and outstanding performance” and “perfectly complement Huawei smartphones, wearables and smart IoT solutions,” said Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu Chengdong.

Huawei introduced its first Matebooks last year. The launch coincided with a global downturn in laptop and personal computer (PC) shipments, which contracted 6.2 per cent in 2016 on year to 269 million units. It was also the first time since 2008 that annual PC shipments fell below 300 million units, as consumers focused on smartphones to the exclusion of larger, less portable computer products.

With the smartphone markets becoming saturated, Huawei has started looking for a new engine to spur growth in its consumer business segment, said Zhao Ziming, an analyst with Beijing-based consultancy Analysys.

Huawei MateBook D. Photo: Handout

“It is smart of Huawei to lay out plans for Matebook sales as PC markets remain important segments which could emerge as new business opportunities in the near future,” Zhao told the South China Morning Post.

Huawei shipped 34.55 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2017, ranking No 3 globally behind Samsung and Apple.

But the company has been hampered by low profitability. Net profit for 2016 totalled 37.1 billion yuan (US$5.39 billion), basically unchanged from the 36.9 billion yuan in the previous year.

Huawei did not disclose sales figures for its Matebook series during last year’s debut launch.

As a newcomer, Huawei will need time to build up market share in the high-end laptop market, against a backdrop of flat growth and competition from established PCs makers, said Zhao.

Six dominant PC vendors, including Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus, Apple, and Acer, account for three-fourths of global PC shipments.

Huawei MateBook D. Photo: Handout

Worldwide PC shipments fell 2.4 per cent to 62.2 million units in the first quarter of 2017, marking the 10th quarter of PC shipment declines, according to Gartner. The data tracking company noted that the major vendors had seen growth in the business segment, but these gains were more than offset by declining consumer demand.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Huawei seeks income boost with MateBooks