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Honor phones aim for India comeback through local licensing deal

Honor smartphones are set to relaunch in India through a licensing agreement with a new local company, with plans to commence domestic manufacturing by early next year.

Credit: Shutterstock

The Chinese brand Honor had stopped selling its phones in India last year due to limited marketing resources and product range after being spun off from parent firm Huawei Technologies.

Honor's return is enabled by a licensing contract with newly established Gurugram business Honor Tech, involving an undisclosed fee for the transfer of technology and hardware. It will unveil three Honor phone variants in India, starting with the mid-range Number series expected in September. The fully Indian-owned company will manufacture, sell and service Honor-branded phones domestically.

"All the phones will eventually be made in India," said CEO Madhav Sheth, without providing further details. "The biggest hurdle with the [Indian] government in the past was how a [Chinese] brand can be accountable in India?" said Sheth, a former executive at rival Realme credited for its Indian growth.

Of late, Chinese firms have struggled in India with bans on several apps and greater scrutiny of investments to prevent takeovers. "India was never a priority market for the Huawei-owned Honor until 2020 – when it was forced to hive off the brand and rethink strategy," said Neil Shah, vice president at Counterpoint Research. Honor will rival Samsung Electronics – the top seller in India with a near 20% market share – followed by Vivo, Xiaomi, Realme and others, per Counterpoint.

Honor Tech aims for a 5% Indian smartphone market share by sales volume in 2024, with revenue of at least ₹10 billion (US$120 million), said Sheth.

  • Honor smartphones returning to India through local licensing deal

  • Domestic manufacturing planned from early 2023

  • New Honor Tech firm owned fully by Indian shareholders

  • Mid-range Number series phones to launch first in September

Source: SCMP

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