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Honor has standout Q1, eyeing PC development

Honor Device Co Ltd sees this year as a crucial starter to make an ambitious comeback in overseas markets including the Middle East, Europe and the Asia-Pacific, after the former unit of Huawei Technologies Co spent more than a year reviving its popularity in the domestic market.

Meanwhile, the company is ramping up its presence in the personal computer market after its smartphone shipments in China grew 290 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, defying an industry decline of 14 percent, according to data from market research company International Data Corp.

Zhao Ming, CEO of Honor, said at an online product launch event on Monday that so far, Honor released smartphones including the Magic 4 Pro and midrange products in the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, some European countries and Latin America.

For more than a year since 2020, Honor had nearly no products to sell in overseas markets due to US government restrictions on Huawei. And in late 2021 when Honor launched its flagship Honor 50 series smartphones overseas, the company-which became fully independent from Huawei in November 2020-still had not fully recovered its critical supplies sourced offshore, Zhao said.

"This year will mark the first year for Honor to fully return to overseas markets," Zhao said, adding that it will take several years for the company to regain its position in the global arena.

The move came after data from IDC showed that Honor was the second-largest smartphone vendor in China from January to March, with shipments reaching 13.5 million units. It was slightly behind Oppo, which saw shipments of 13.7 million units.

But unlike Oppo that posted a 33.5 percent year-on-year decline during the period, Honor registered a surge of 291.7 percent year-on-year.

Honor achieved high year-on-year growth, driven by a low comparison base year and good performance of its Honor 60 and X30 series, which contributed about 60 percent of its shipments. The launch of Honor Magic 4 also strengthened the company's position in the high-end segment, said IDC.

Will Wong, research manager for client devices at IDC Asia-Pacific, said, "2022 will be a challenging year, as both domestic and overseas' uncertainties are snarling at the market, pushing many smartphone vendors into a more conservative mode."

In March, smartphone shipments in China declined 40.5 percent year-on-year to 21.5 million units, said the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology on Monday.

"Such an environment makes vendors' brand equity more crucial than ever in competing with Apple," Wong added.

After regaining strong momentum in smartphones despite an overall industry decline, Honor is setting eyes on the PC market with a string of new products such as MagicBook 14 launched on Monday. It also unveiled Honor Magic OS for Windows, which the company claimed as a notebook business technology architectural system based on the underlying chips and Microsoft's Windows operating system. It enables specific optimizations such as better cross-device interaction, office experience and higher efficiency.

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