UAE: How often do residents replace their premium smartphones?

Customers in the Emirates have special taste and are very advanced compared to other countries and demand high-quality products


Waheed Abbas

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Daniel Wang, President of Honor Middle East and Africa
Daniel Wang, President of Honor Middle East and Africa

Published: Tue 27 Feb 2024, 2:34 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Feb 2024, 5:41 PM

The UAE customers take a longer time to replace their premium smartphones if they don't find exciting features in other handsets, said Daniel Wang, President of Honor Middle East and Africa.

"Before the pandemic, the replacement time was around 7-8 months. Post-pandemic, if UAE customers don't find anything interesting in a new product, they don't want to change. So, the cycle time for replacement is about one to one-and-a-half years now.

"The UAE customers have a special taste and are very advanced compared to other countries. They demand high-quality products in terms of designs and cameras etc.," Wang told Khaleej Times in an interview on the sidelines of the MWC2024 taking place in Barcelona, Spain.

He noted that the UAE market is important for Chinese technology manufacturers because it indicates the trend of smart devices; hence, the UAE is used as a benchmark by companies to launch products.

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"UAE was the first country to launch an AI strategy for the whole country. Products that do very well in UAE, can perform well in other regional markets also. Products that are popular in the UAE can be sold in other countries. UAE is important for high-tier products because there are so many different nationalities with a high income," Honor's regional chief said during the media briefing at the MWC2024.

On Sunday, the Chinese global technology brand launched its Magic6 Pro smartphone and AI PC MagicBook Pro 16, equipped with its platform-level artificial intelligence (AI) operating system to offer more human-centric experiences to users.

Launched at the MWC 2024 in Barcelona, the latest additions to the Honor Magic Series flagship lineup include advancements in photography, display, performance, and AI-powered user experiences.

The technology giant unveiled MagicOS 8.0, the latest version of its Android-based operating system that introduces platform-level AI and the industry's first intent-based user interface.

Honor also plans to launch a next-generation foldable phone in the UAE later this year.

199% growth

"Overall, our goal in the Middle East and Africa region is to be the most ambitious, energetic and fast-growing brand in the region. Last year, the growth in the region was 199 per cent year-on-year, as Honor was the fastest-growing brand. In the UAE, we achieved 150 per cent growth last year, and our market share has grown to 10 per cent. We command 30 per cent market share in the mid-tier mobile segment, and we have big potential in higher tier or flagship models also," Wang said.

This year, Honor aims to grow its business by at least 50 per cent in the UAE year on year.

"Our target is to increase Magic6 sales in the UAE because it is aligned with our strategy as we pay high attention to premium users… For the UAE, the target is to provide premium products. This is very important, especially for Magic Series and number series, because we want to provide the best products to premium consumers in the UAE. We did some study in the UAE and found that premium customers in the UAE want the latest technologies, innovation and best-in-class products," he added.

To cater to the growing market demand for Honor products, the technology major plans to open its brand store in Dubai Festival City Mall in the second quarter of this year.

Honor also performed exceptionally in other markets.

George Zhao, CEO of Honor Device Co., said the brand grew more than 200 per cent volume in Europe, and he sees another over 100 per cent growth this year in the region.

"We're building a foundation on solid growth. We'll continue to deliver innovations in the future in our laptops, foldable phones and other products," he said during a media briefing at MWC2024.

In addition to the Middle East, Zhao expects other countries' markets, such as Latin America, to have performed exceptionally well and will introduce more products in those markets in the coming years.

He elaborated that Honor is allocating a high percentage of the amount to research and development as it has a long-term competitive strategy in place.


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