Huawei has sold the Honor technology brand in an effort to ensure its survival. Huawei and Honor have both been hit by component supply restraints due to the U.S. government’s continued restrictions, with Huawei saying it has been “under tremendous pressure” recently.
All Honor business assets have been sold to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co. Ltd, and when the sale is final, Huawei will not be involved in the business or decision-making process at the new firm.
In a statement, Huawei writes:
“Since its creation in 2013, the Honor brand has focused on the youth market by offering phones in the low- to mid-price range. During these past seven years, Honor has developed into a smartphone brand that ships over 70 million units annually. We hope this new Honor company will embark on a new road of honor with its shareholders, partners, and employees. We look forward to seeing Honor continue to create value for consumers and build a new intelligent world for young people.”
Honor launched as a sister brand to Huawei, focusing on delivering competitively priced smartphones that appealed to a young demographic, and it has been successful in its endeavors. The brand used Huawei’s Kirin processors and EMUI user interface over Google Android, although recently it started to promote its own MagicUI user interface on its smartphones. Its phone designs were usually bolder than Huawei’s more premium efforts.
By selling the company, Huawei likely hopes the new Honor brand will be able to source components from U.S. companies, and potentially strike a new licensing deal with Google to use Google Mobile Services. While Huawei is busy building its own ecosystem around the Huawei App Gallery and Huawei Mobile Services, the sale allows Honor to break out on its own.
What’s known about new owners Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology? It’s a consortium of at least 30 different investment firms, retailers, and other agents familiar with the Honor brand, according to the South China Morning Post. The consortium was founded by the State-backed Shenzhen Smart City Technology Development Group, according to the BBC. Honor president George Zhao will take on the role of CEO in the new company.
The new Honor brand faces massive challenges not just in securing components and software deals, but also against competition from other brands which have muscled in to appeal to Honor’s young audience with high-spec phones at low prices, including Realme, Xiaomi’s Poco brand, and OnePlus’s Nord range.
There’s no information on when the newly invigorated Honor brand will re-launch, or when we will see the first smartphone launch.
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