Device Business Unit of Huawei Technologies, Nepal
Established in 1987, the Chinese company Huawei has evolved to become a leader in the global mobility business. Competing with big Asian and western names in the global gadget arena, the Shenzhen-based telecommunications equipment and services company has become an established brand in smartphones in the recent years. Since its arrival in the Nepali market in 2012, the company has aggressively embarked on various campaigns to establish the Huawei brand in the country. As part of its expansion strategy, the Chinese OEM major has been launching, one after another, smartphone models in the Nepali market. Huawei in late February launched its flagship Mate 8 which the company hopes will become a game-changer in the high-end smatphone category. Dennis Zhang is the Managing Director of Device Business Unit of Huawei Technologies in Nepal. In an interview with Sanjeev Sharma of New Business Age, Zhang talked about Huawei’s foray into the Nepali market and future strategies. Excerpts:
How do you think the launch of Huawei Mate 8 will signify Huawei’s presence in the high-end segment of the Nepali smartphone market?
Huawei Mate 8 is a powerful gadget devised for those looking for a high-end smartphone experience. The handset is the latest top-tier product from Huawei meant for top-class performance. Though the new smartphone falls in the higher price category, we are receiving a warm response from Nepali customers. In Nepal, the high-end segment has a low number of buyers compared to mid and entry levels. Nevertheless, Huawei Mate 8, which comes with premium hardware and an attractive design, is priced lower than other competing smartphones in the high-end segment.
How is Huawei performing in the Nepali market?
Huawei entered the Nepali market towards the end of 2013. Full scale business started in February 2014 with full-scale sales of our smartphones. Though we have only officially been in Nepal for a little more than four years, Huawei has gained a significant share of the market. Last year our market share in the smartphone segment was six percent and now it is over 10 percent. We are targeting at least 15 percent this year. With the current and upcoming lineups of smartphones, we will be rapidly expanding our market base in Nepal. In the first quarter we achieved a growth rate of 10-11 percent. In the second quarter we are targeting 14-15 percent. In the third quarter, we are aiming for nearly 20 percent. For 2016, we have set our growth rate target at over 15 percent.
What are the unique selling points (USPs) of Huawei smartphones in Nepal?
The quality and pricing of our products keep us apart from other brands. We at Huwei offer quality smartphones at affordable prices to consumers. Similarly, we have a large product portfolio. We have a wide range of smartphones to cater to the needs of our customers from every income level. We have smartphones below Rs 10,000 to as high as Rs 80,000.
How are you promoting the Huawei brand in the domestic market?
We are actively engaged in brand promotion. We have a long-term approach. Though we are a new brand in the Nepali market, more and more Nepali customers are getting to know the brand through our promotional activities. Our launch of the Mate 8 was broadcast live. We intend to do similar things in the future. Huawei has a strong workforce which comprises teams of brand promoters, supervisors and marketing executives.
Who are your competitors in Nepal? How are you handling the competition at a time when the Nepali market is being flooded by different gadget brands?
We only consider Samsung as our main competitor. We do not have to compete much with others. Many new brands have entered and exited the market in recent years. They failed to focus on the quality of their products. They kept their prices low with no significant improvement in terms of technology. For Huawei, affordability and product quality always go side-by-side. There is no room for compromise here. We always use best technologies to deliver outstanding products to our consumers. Even our main competitior, Samsung, has given encouraging feedbacks regarding the quality of Huawei products. We are also providing strong after sales services. This year we are planning to open 5-6 service centres of global standard in Nepal.
Huawei in recent years has been increasingly using its own Kirin chipset in high-end devices. How is it different than the widely used Snapdragon chipset?
The Kirin chipset incorporates the latest technology and offers the ultimate device experience to its users. Priced lower than Snapdragon and other high-end chipsets, Kirin delivers high-speed computing. Various test results have shown that Kirin gave a 30-40 percent increase in computing speed along with a high level of energy efficiency when compared to other chipsets. Reputed tech magazines and portals have awarded top positions and scores to the Kirin chipset after comparing it across various benchmarks. We intend to use Kirin chipsets in all Huawei handsets in the future.
How is Huawei getting along with its main Nepali distributor Call Mobility? How would you expect the business collaboration to progress in the upcoming years?
Call Mobility has been the official Nepali partner of Huawei since 2012. Over the past four years, Call Mobility has worked strongly regarding the distribution of Huawei devices. They have largely avoided the old-fashioned ways of doing business and have innovated significantly regarding the distribution and sales of our products. Their passion and will to take Huawei to the top spot in the Nepali market carries big meaning for us. We believe that our relationship will grow stronger in the years to come.
What are Huawei’s future strategies for Nepal?
We will be expanding our market coverage here. There are over 2,800 retailers across the country currently, out of which, 1,200 are active. We aim to cover 70-80 percent of the active retailers in 2016. Similarly, we will be launching more quality products for our Nepali customers. For the upcoming 4G mobile technology in Nepal, we will be collaborating with the telecom operators.