Honor, a sub-brand of Huawei, has its eyes on securing 5% of Egyptian smartphone sales by the end of the first quarter of 2019. Despite launching in Egypt only a few days ago, the company has already introduced four smartphone models.
Chris Sun Baigong, the vice president of Honor in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), told Daily News Egypt in an interview that the company sees opportunities for growth in the Egyptian market, where reports indicate Egypt’s growth in the smartphone sector at 22% in 2018 compared to last year.
In Egypt there are more than 26 smartphone brands, making the competition hard. What advantages do you have?
There is already fierce competition in Egypt’s smartphone market, but we have a number of key advantages, namely quality and development, which are the key factors in driving our presence and spread worldwide.
The way we communicate with the consumers we target differs from other competitors. We are a new and young brand, and we aim to communicate with young consumers, so we have a common language, which helps to increase interaction with them.
The third advantage that supports our presence among the competition is a partnership with Etisal to be the sole distributor and exclusive agent for Honor phones in Egypt.
The company helps distribute our products via different outlets and e-commerce websites.
What are your plans to set up affiliate sales centers?
We plan to place our products on the shelves of more than 1,000 locations in our first three months in Egypt, then up to 2,500 points by the end of the first year.
How many phones do you plan to sell during the first year?
We did not think about the number of phones we were aiming to sell but we are planning to acquire 5% of the market in our first year here.
The Egyptian market sells about 1m mobile phones per month, and thus, Honor aims to sell some 50,000 units per month.
Currently, the mobile market is shrinking due to the presence of many competing brands. Why did Honor separate from Huawei?
A few days ago, I read a report that says smartphone sales in Egypt will increase by 22% this year compared to the previous year, which confirms the presence of a strong opportunity for growth in the Egyptian market.
But this is because the market is not saturated with smartphones yet, but when it is. Will the market’s sales growth decline?
According to our strategy, we prefer to have two separate brands, especially given that Honor is different from Huawei. Honor focuses on youth consumers, so our main advertising and selling points are focused on digital channels.
What about aftersales services for Honor products?
We offer a one-year warranty on our products through our partners, Etisal, which has cooperated in providing maintenance services at 30 Raya Holding maintenance branches.
What are the most prominent features of your plans for the upcoming period?
Some 85% of Honor sales last year were made in China, while only 15% were abroad. By 2020, we plan to have only 50% of sales in China, and the remaining in other parts of the world.
We have a plan to be among the five biggest smartphone brands by 2020. And by 2022, we will become one of the world’s largest three smartphone brands.
There are some retailers manipulating prices in the market. How do you face it?
We have the advantage that our products have one agent in Egypt, Etisal. Hence, there is no opportunity for retailers to manipulate prices in what is known as “burning prices”, since the main provider is one company.
Do you currently have partnerships with mobile operators?
We already have plans for that kind of partnership, and we have plans to cooperate with different operators but there is no final agreement with any of them. We want to only cooperate with partners that can provide added value to consumers.
Do you have plans to manufacture in Egypt?
This is something that we can neither confirm nor deny at present. We are a new brand in the market. First, we must seek an appropriate sales volume to decide if we will need to sign partnership agreements for manufacturing here.
There is one company that controls the largest share of smartphone market sales in Egypt. Do you plan to acquire your target share at the expense of the largest company, or attract new smartphone users?
We have a very great opportunity to compete depending on the quality and development of our products and plan to acquire 5% of the market in our first year, regardless of where this figure will come from.
We do not think about competing brands, but we focus on providing the best products to our customers. All the phones we have launched in Egypt come with ultranarrow bezels and new cameras equipped with face unlock features. The phones can also be used to play video games.
What is the importance of the Egyptian market for you in the MENA region?
Currently we launched our products in various markets across the MENA region, as well as in Iran and Pakistan. Egypt is among the most important markets in the Middle East and the world for our plans.
The importance of the Egyptian market is due to the presence of a wide range of youth who are active on social networking sites.