HONOR to meet you

As HONOR makes its return to the UAE market Likhun Zhao, President, HONOR MEA, gives an overview of the brand’s strategic business plan

By Muhammad Ali Bandial

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Likhun Zhao, President, HONOR MEA
Likhun Zhao, President, HONOR MEA

Published: Thu 31 Mar 2022, 2:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 31 Mar 2022, 2:21 PM

HONOR has made its eagerly anticipated return to the UAE market and brings a host of exciting new products to help consumers be more productive, enjoy immersive entertainment and experience the potential of powerful new technologies.

The brand has developed a range of innovative products and aims to become a top three global smart device brand by creating a new intelligent world for everyone with its 1+8+N concept of a shared ecosystem of devices and services with the smartphone at its centre. With over 25 years of extensive experience in the telecommunication and software business industry, Zhao has held several senior positions. Zhao has been working in MEA and Russia for 10 years and he has extensive international market exposure and experience working in the Middle East and Africa.

He talks to Khaleej Times about HONOR smartphones’ USP in the market and how the brand is reinventing itself to become a global entity.

What is HONOR’s brand positioning, and how does it apply to the MEA smartphone market?

HONOR has the advantage of great insights and experience from local markets such as local consumer insights and distribution systems. HONOR will become a global technology brand since we had our own channel system in both local and overseas markets before becoming and independent company.

Since the establishment of new HONOR, we have built a well-established system for sales, marketing, and customer services. We have a strategic distribution channel system and teams in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, South Africa, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

Based on the MEA consumer needs, honor will choose the best solutions for our regional supply chain and secure mainstream technology that underpin our products. And we are excited about bringing more smartphones, PC, wearable products to consumers and look forward to launching products from our portfolio in Q4 and beyond.

What is your core strategy in the MEA region?

We continue to embrace the ‘1+8+N’ product strategy, which leverages smartphones as the core of the platform while we also focus on developing other connected products, such as notebooks, smart screens, tablets, wearables, smart audios, and routers to provide a seamless, more intelligent and connected experience for users.

We adopt a ‘Dual-engine approach’ to find the perfect balance between consumers’ needs and leading technologies. This is how we develop best-in-class products. Our premium flagship HONOR Magic Series is a testament to best in class, innovative technology. The high-end premium product line, the HONOR Series, will set new industry standards with its aesthetic design and superior user experience, while HONOR X Series represents the accessibility of our technology for all. These three product lines are our global solutions for consumers around the world.

We believe in creating mutual gains with our strategic partners and fully embrace the regional supply chain. By having access to top technologies in the world, we are also giving back to our regional supply chain partners to form a positive circle. In a very short period of time, we quickly reestablished with strategic partnerships with some top suppliers.

How does it apply to the MEA smartphone market?

We will establish HONOR premium stores and 1,000+ partner stores to bring premium experience to consumers. We will also establish national hubs in Dubai, South Africa and Saudi Arabia to achieve an efficient and safe logistics system, to create operational efficiencies and improve customer experience. To go forward with ensuring that consumers will get the best support, we have provided a wide range of support options and possibilities that include offline service centers, online customer care centres, website, and app for self-service, we will also continue with our mission in providing HONOR products like HONOR digital Series, HONOR Magic Series with pioneering innovations, outstanding and inspiring features and functionalities.

And we are capable to cover end-to-end operations, which gives us a very solid starting point as a startup company. From R&D, supply chain, manufacturing, to sales, marketing, service, and finance, our very comprehensive setup helps us stay competitive.

We noticed that HONOR X8 has incorporated some important features regarding the HONOR RAM Turbo, what is the significance of these features from a competitive point?

The HONOR X8 boasts an advanced memory capability, and is equipped with HONOR RAM Turbo. This technology expands the RAM storage by compressing background apps and enabling the HONOR X8 to simultaneously open more applications without compromising on efficiency.

The technology stops background processes from getting killed when users switch apps, ensuring users can take a call and write a message and the apps will still be running in the background.

How does HONOR RAM Turbo help improve the user experience?

With smartphones being used to game, text, call, and watch videos, sometimes at the same time, switching between tasks can lead to ‘background process killing, leaving many users frustrated when their game automatically ends, or an app suddenly closes when taking a phone call. This happens more often when the phone has a low RAM.

HONOR’s self-developed HONOR RAM Turbo technology, expands RAM storage by compressing background apps and enabling the HONOR X8 to simultaneously open more applications without compromising on efficiency. Offering a more seamless user experience and enabling users to carry on with their tasks with a low latency, the technology helps “hot start” more background processes and apps, ensuring users can take a call or write a message and the apps will still be running in the background, and waiting for users to pick up exactly where they left off. In a hot start, all the system has to do is bring your app’s activity to the foreground and keep more apps to be presented in memory.

What is unique about the design of the HONOR X8?

To accomplish the industry breakthrough, HONOR developed an innovative glue dispensing solution for the HONOR X8, removing the gap on the middle frame bezel and filling adhesive between the display and the middle frame bezel. The super narrow bezel also presents challenges when it comes to the antenna design of the smartphone. To ensure signal transmission performance, traditionally an antenna requires at least 0.7mm of space and unlike conventional antenna designs, achieving the final super narrow bezel means there is a 30 per cent reduction in space for the antenna. Guaranteeing superior performance, HONOR pioneered an HONOR self-developed antenna transmission technology, ensuring excellent signal transmission performance, even when the super narrow bezel design occupies 1.1mm of space, which is why HONOR coined the term ‘Negative Clearance’.

HONOR has world leading systematic and accurate testing capability labs, including a software automatic testing centre, telecommunication test lab, reliability lab, camera lab, audio lab, and antenna lab. To ensure HONOR meets operator requirements and industry standards, HONOR has devised more than 3,000 smartphone tests and over 800 tests for key device capabilities, including camera and battery performance, across multi-dimensional and multi-level testing to ensure superior quality of all HONOR products. HONOR devices have been rigorously tested across various scenarios, ensuring users can relish in a reliable and trustworthy smartphone and long-term companion to support their daily needs, even after extended use.

To ensure the consistency in product quality, HONOR continues to invest resources in key customised components, models, and manufacture factories, and independently develops and uses automated equipment and procedures. This enables HONOR to achieve a ‘smart manufacturing’, and high quality and consistency across its entire product line. HONOR strives to provide the best-in-class user experience for users all around the world.

Who is the HONOR X8 aimed at?

The HONOR X8 is designed for those seeking a slim and stylish gadget that delivers great performance, all at an affordable price point. The HONOR X8 caters to the needs of the entertainment hungry generation, and is perfect for those interested in music, film, and gaming. It is a perfect choice entry-level professionals and students. This discerning group of individuals see the smartphone as a necessity to stay connected with their friends and family, and a vital tool to access entertainment at their fingertips.

What is your sales forecast for the HONOR X8?

HONOR focuses on developing world-class products and experiences, as well as developing our own capabilities to better serve our global customers. We are confident in the HONOR X8’s performance in global markets, thanks to its compelling features and its competitive price point.

What are the other models in the HONOR X Series?

The HONOR X8 is the newest member of HONOR’s reliable HONOR X Series. In addition to the HONOR X8, HONOR will also launch the new HONOR X9 and HONOR X7, bringing HONOR’s powerful technology to more global smartphone users.

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