With the government decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail under automatic route, Huawei, the world’s third largest smartphone maker, is planning to open its experience stores in India. Speaking to indianexpress.com ahead of the launch of the Honor 9 Lite, Allen Wang , Director, Product Center, Huawei India Consumer Business Group said: “We’re thinking of opening Huawei Honor experience stores in India. Even though a product is selling online, people are very keen to see and feel a product at an offline store. The experience store is a part of our offline strategy.” Other only brands like OnePlus too have similar stores.
Wang says the first experience store will open sometime in the first half of the year and will be positioned as a lifestyle store where consumers can experience and purchase their devices. The company is looking to open its first store in one of the key metro cities, although a final decision hasn’t been taken yet.
The company sees India as an important market and will ramp up efforts to become a household name. Its sub-brand Honor sold between 1.3 million to 1.5 million smartphones last year. Wang said the aim is to do at least triple this number in 2018. In fact, the company is already seeing high acceptance for its Honor 7X and View 10 smartphones. The Honor 7X is aimed to take on the Xiaomi Mi A1, while the Honor View 10 competes against the OnePlus 5T.
Committed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme, the Chinese tech giant is already making up to 80 per cent of its smartphones locally. “Most of our high volume smartphones are made in India,” he said. Wang further added that due to high-end demand of the Honor 7X, the company is making the device in India only. Even the Honor 9 Lite will be made in India. The Honor Holly 3 was the first smartphone that was manufactured in India, followed by the Honor 6X.
Huawei is often considered the biggest challenger to Apple and Samsung in the global market. It sells smartphones at different price points and has seen impressive growth in various markets, especially Europe. However the company is yet to bring its flagship Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro smartphones to India. The two phones are seen as challengers to the Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8. Asked about the reason for not launching Huawei-branded smartphones in India, Wang replied, “In India, our strategy is to make the Honor brand successful. We are planning to bring some Huawei-branded smartphones to India; but this year at least Honor is still the main brand to focus on.”