In brief: Honor is now officially an independent company, and has managed to secure essential components for its products. One of those products is already available on the market as of last week — the V40 5G smartphone.
Last year, Huawei sold its Honor division in an effort to cope with the most recent US sanctions that deprived it of valuable supply partnerships. The budget smartphone brand now has a new owner in the form of a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers that are forming a new company called Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology.
The deal is estimated at $15.2 billion and includes all Honor assets, research and development facilities, and supply chain management, along with over 7,000 employees. In the meantime, the new owners of the brand have been looking to secure access to chips and other components, as the US sanctions that applied to Huawei should no longer affect it.
Honor says it has managed to forge partnerships with essential suppliers of hardware and software for its products. That includes companies such as AMD, Intel, Micron, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK Hynix, Sony, MediaTek, and Microsoft. Some of them are worried about the potential implications of dealing with Honor, and are currently exploring ways they can avoid future disruptions.
This is an important win, as it’s estimated the company has already ordered components for 60-70 million smartphones. Furthermore, Honor has told suppliers it’s planning to amass a stockpile of components in the context of an ongoing shortage that is plaguing the entire industry.
Zhao Ming, Honor’s new CEO, told Nikkei that “it has been very tough in the past five months. […] But the blessings and encouragement from consumers and the industry gave us courage. Honor will confidently, bravely face everything, and the new Honor that is independent will keep its glory of the past and continue to innovate.”
Ming isn’t exaggerating, as Honor last week announced its first post-Huawei phone, the V40 5G. It has a 6.72-inch, 120 Hz OLED display powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000+ SoC, with the usual assortment of cameras and a 4,000 mAh battery that can fast charge wirelessly at up to 50 watts, or 66 watts if you’re using a cable.
The V40 is already available in China at a starting price of around $550 for the base model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. With some luck, the international version might ship with Google services, but that could easily change at the whim of the US Department of Commerce. Recently, 60 Chinese companies were added to the US Entity List and Xiaomi was designated a “Communist Chinese military company,” meaning American investors could soon be forced to divest.
In any case, Reuters is confident that Huawei will soon be selling its premium smartphone brands P and Mate, following a similar strategy as it did with Honor. The company denies these rumors, but seeing as it doesn’t have a never-ending stockpile of high-end chips and Chinese foundries like SMIC don’t have the capabilities to make them, this course of action looks increasingly like a good idea.