Relegated to telecoms, Huawei wants to bounce back in connected watches

Since the American ban on using American parts and other software, the Chinese brand has explored new horizons in connected products, but also in sectors as diverse as energy or automotive.


And now, CAP on health and well-being! During the presentation of his latest novelties on Wednesday, May 18, in Milan, Huawei, who invited the media there, including Le Monde, presented these themes as the new pillars of its development for the years to come. Even if he had already offered products in this area, the Shenzhen conglomerate has massively renewed its offer of connected bracelets and watches.

ceramic, titanium, sapphire glass … The most prestigious model, the GT3 Pro, whose price peaks at 699 euros, is supposed to compete with its noble materials and its services (on subscription: Sports coaching, nutrition advice … ) with the Apple Watch, the market leader.

In Milan, the Chinese brand also presented its new foldable phone model, Mate XS 2 (1,999 euros). But he didn’t really draw attention. It is that, since the sanctions imposed under the Donald Trump era by the American administration, sales of the Huawei phones have collapsed. In question: the impossibility for its devices to use the Google application suite (Google Store, Gmail, Google Maps, etc.), a major obstacle for consumers.

The ephemeral world manufacturer in the world in the second quarter of 2020, according to the Counterpoint Institute) no longer appears in the rankings of the main actors, relegated to the peloton tail by the historic champions Apple, Samsung, but also its rivals nationals Xiaomi and Oppo. The prospects are hardly better on the historic activity of the conglomerate – telecom infrastructure -, also struck by American sanctions.

turnover decreasing

The latest annual results, unveiled by Huawei at the end of March, illustrate this critical situation. Turnover fell by 28.5 % between 2020 and 2021 years to 99.9 billion dollars (95 billion euros) – close to its 2017 level – in all regions of the world , including China. A positive point, however, its net profit was in frank increase in 2021, at $ 17.8 billion.

In this context, it is logical that Huawei is looking for other growth relays, starting with the connected watches market. For Stéphane Curtelin, brand marketing director in France, “it is an open and dynamic market”, where barely between 10 % and 20 % of consumers are equipped, and still growing rapidly (+ 24 % in 2021, according to Counterpoint, which already places Huawei on the third step of the podium). The group wants to multiply the services: Health Plus, at 7.99 euros per month, but also Huawei Music or Video. These paid services are one of the keys to the good results of its Apple competitor (18 % of income).

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/Media reports.