Huawei prepares to launch first Chinese phones into tough Korean market
Huawei hopes its Honor 6 will carve a path into the saturated South Korean mobile market.
Entering a saturated foreign market made up of 85 percent domestic manufacturers is risky business, but that's exactly what Huawei is preparing to do.
Huawei's current flagship model, the Honor 6, is reportedly being tested under Korea's LG Uplus network to be approved for the Korean market. This would be the first time a Chinese-branded handset entered the Korean market through an official distribution channel.
Huawei representatives confirmed the phone is in compatibility testing, "but it does not signify that a product launch in Korea is imminent".
Unveiled last month, the Honor 6's specs are bound to turn some heads in the Korean market whenever they do decide to release the model. The handset boasts an octa-core CPU, 3GB RAM, 5-inch full HD Display and 13-megapixel rear camera.
The affordable $369 (AU$396, £219) price tag, roughly half of what it costs to buy Samsung and LG's flagship models, is also one of its biggest selling points. The Korean version will be adapted to take advantage of LG Uplus' LTE-A broadband network, as well as Category 6 and VoLTE technology.
This is also a sign that Pantech's -- Korea's number three phone maker behind Samsung and LG -- recent struggles have created a significant rift in the Korean mobile market. Even after being saved from bankruptcy last week, Pantech now finds itself incapable of selling new units because of the sizeable stockpile of unsold Pantech inventory held by Korea's carriers. This may be an opportune time for a foreign player to enter the fiercely competitive Korean mobile market.
In 2011, Korean mobile carriers tested Taiwanese HTC phones with domestic customers but were met with disappointing sales, leading to HTC pulling out of South Korea within a matter of months.