SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Korea Bizwire) – Huawei’s ambitious launch of its premium smartphone, the P9, has so far reaped disappointing results in the South Korean market.
The P9 and the P9 Plus, which were first launched in April, made their official entry here on December 2, only to face discouraging numbers, with roughly 100 of the units being sold every day; worse sales figures than for Huawei’s previously launched budget models – the H Phone and the Be Y Phone – which saw average daily sales of 300 to 500 units.
Industry watchers point to the dominant consumer perception towards Chinese electronics that is closely associated with words like “budget” or “lower quality”, and that the P9’s premium specifications – namely its trademark dual rear camera co-engineered with Leica – and its price competitiveness here, set between 590,000 won ($495) and 690,000 won, were not enough to satiate Korean consumers with high tech standards.
“The concept of premium smartphones from China is still an idea that local consumers are not used to,” said an industry official. “Consumers seeking premium smartphones consider brand image as an important factor, and they have no reason to buy a product by a Chinese brand when there are other premium alternatives, like Samsung and Apple, already in the market.”
The fact that Huawei introduced a months-old smartphone to a fashion-sensitive audience was another aspect that discouraged its sales, on top of the fact that the P9’s basic technical specifications, such as RAM and display, clearly fall behind its competitors, for example, the Galaxy S7 series.
However, LG Uplus, a local mobile carrier and the exclusive distributor of the P9 series, asserted that it’s too early to determine the performance of the new phones, saying that “sales figures are increasing steadily,” and that the company had received very few consumer complaints.
A Huawei official also said it places higher importance on the fact that it successfully entered Korea’s premium smartphone market than on simple sales figures.
“It is important that we’ve had positive product reviews, and that we helped broaden the choices available for local consumers.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)