Honor Makes A Comeback In The Indian Smartphone Market


Honor, a leading smartphone manufacturer in China, is returning to the Indian market with its latest device, the Honor 90. This marks the company’s first new release for the second-largest smartphone market in the world in over three years. The Honor 90 has already been launched in several global markets, including Malaysia, Europe, the Middle East, and the UK.

Key Takeaway

Honor, one of China’s major smartphone makers, is making a comeback in the Indian smartphone market with its new device, the Honor 90. The company aims to regain market share and revenue in a highly competitive industry. While Honor faced tough competition in India before, its new strategy, partnership with HTech, and focus on hardware and design differentiation may position it well for success.

Honor’s Journey in India

Honor previously operated natively in India when it was still part of Huawei. However, in November 2020, the brand was sold to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, which is controlled by the Chinese government. Subsequently, Honor’s operations in India were halted, and its staff was relocated to Dubai. Despite this, Honor did not completely exit the Indian market. The company partnered with PSAV Global to distribute and provide after-sales services for its devices in the country.

For smartphones, Honor collaborated with HTech (formerly known as HonorTech), which counts former Realme India chief Madhav Sheth as one of its directors. HTech serves as a local distributor for Honor smartphones in India under a licensing agreement. The company has plans to transfer technology from Honor Global to India and has proposed a significant investment of over $120 million (1,000 crore Indian rupees). HTech aims to achieve $1.2 billion in revenue and secure a 5% market share by December 2024. It also plans to start local manufacturing next year.

The Honor 90 and HTech’s Strategy

HTech has made its entry into the competitive Indian smartphone market with the launch of the Honor 90. The device boasts a 6.7-inch 1.5K quad-curved AMOLED display and is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip. With a starting price of approximately $450, HTech aims to make a mark in the market by focusing on hardware and design differentiation.

Despite the challenges of being a new entrant, HTech is determined to navigate the Indian market successfully. Navkendar Singh, Associate Vice President for Devices Research at IDC, highlights the importance of marketing, managing offline and online channels, and pricing strategies in this highly competitive landscape.

The Indian Smartphone Market

The Indian smartphone market has experienced significant growth, with the number of users increasing from 150 million to 750 million in the last eight years. However, recent months have seen a decline in shipments due to factors such as the global economic slowdown, high unemployment rates, reduced demand for entry-level models, and a growing interest in refurbished phones. IDC reports a 10% year-on-year dip in shipments to 64 million units in the first half of this year. Additionally, the mid-range segment (between $200-$400) has remained stagnant.

Considering the current market trends, Honor’s reentry into India may pose challenges. Global market analysts have already lowered their estimations due to underwhelming sales from key players in the smartphone industry. However, Honor’s previous growth momentum in overseas markets, particularly in the first quarter of 2023, indicates that there is still potential for success.

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