Huawei set to exit the low-cost smartphone market


If you have been following Android Kenya lately then you must have noticed an influx of low-cost Huawei smartphones that have been announced over the last 3 or so months. Devices in the entry-level Y series, mostly, that should be made available locally in coming days.

As things stand, that may have been the last time you will ever see them.

According to the head of Huawei’s consumer division, Richard Yu, the company is exiting the budget device space in favour of the high-end segment.

“We are giving up the very low-end devices because the margin in this is extremely low, and it’s not making enough profit for us,” Mr Yu is quoted saying in an interview with Bloomberg.

Huawei, the world’s third largest manufacturer of smartphones and the second biggest Android device maker, after Samsung, has increasingly set its sights on the higher market segments where it expects higher returns.

This year, Huawei expects to ship not more than 150 million smartphone units, a slowdown in the annual growth it registered last year.

“We want to focus on the high-end and mid-range market. We give up the ultra low-end,” Mr Yu was quoted saying by Reuters.

That would essentially mean seeing more of the mid-range G series smartphones and others made by its subsidiary Honor brand and less of the Y series devices, some of the more popular entry-level devices the company has on sale in Kenya and other emerging markets.

The company’s appetite for the high-end market segment may see it become the first phone maker to incorporate an AI (Artificial Intelligent) processor in its smartphones. The company is set to unveil the successor to the Mate 9 around the same time that the next iPhone will have hit the market as it amps its plans to conquer the world.

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This shouldn’t surprise us, though, and might actually be a laudable move. Big smartphone makers are not known to cater well for the ultra low cost market s they mostly offer devices that are no match to those from brands that specialize in affordable smartphones. One need only look at the current situation in Kenya where users stand to get much more value for their money when they buy devices from little-known Chinese brands than from the industry’s big names like Samsung and Huawei.

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