“Customer-centricity has been the cornerstone of Huawei’s strategy in India”

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Huawei is back with a bang with the launch of a range of wearables in the Indian market packed with class-leading, first of its kind features, in the last six months. Rishi Kishor Gupta, Vice President, Consumer Business Group, Huawei India, believes, “What earlier was a luxury has now become a necessity for a healthier lifestyle” and this is one of the reasons driving Huawei to invest in wearables, which are fast becoming an essential accessory, making consumers increasingly focus on the comfort and design of products such that it not just seamlessly fits into their lifestyle but also makes life more convenient. Gupta discusses the brand’s continued focus on the India market with its innovative offerings, and more, in an interaction with Ramesh Kumar Raja. Excerpts:

After a brief lull, Huawei is back with a couple of launches in the recent past. How has been the business so far this time?

Over the years, Huawei has worked with a long-term strategy in the Indian market. With a commitment to contribute to Digital India’s growth, we have continued to develop our relationship and harmony with our partners and the industry. Our aim has always been to make meaningful and futuristic innovations that address the needs of our consumers.

In the last six months, we have launched a range of wearables in the Indian market packed with class-leading, first of its kind features. These include Huawei Watch Fit, Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro, Huawei Band 6 and Huawei FreeBuds 4i. These products have not just been revered by many but have been the best-sellers in the market. Huawei Band 6 has, especially, received a lot of public appreciation and praise owing to the premium yet practical features packed in the smart band and its affordability.

Wearables, including hearables too, have become a bigger market now and you are rightly focusing on these products. What according to you are the changing trends in this regard?

In the last one year, India has become the fastest-growing wearable market globally. Local demand for wearables has skyrocketed with IDC’s latest data showing India’s wearable market has grown by 93.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) in Q3CY21.

The wearable market in India was already on the growth curve and has been further accelerated by the evolving consumer preferences, increased focus on wellbeing and demand for feature-rich technology solutions that would make daily activities more convenient. What earlier was a luxury has now become a necessity for a healthier lifestyle. Wearables are fast becoming an essential accessory, making consumers increasingly focus on the comfort and design of products such that it not just seamlessly fits into their lifestyle but also makes life more convenient.

At Huawei, we have been constantly listening to the needs and identifying the requirements of our customers while developing products that are not just meaningful now but are future-ready.

“Being a customer-centric brand, Huawei will continue to constantly invest in R&D and strive to address the needs of the consumers with technology that is both essential and usable to everyone. With that in mind, 2022 will be the year when the focus of Huawei will be on making technological breakthroughs that will simplify and secure each and everything we do”

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What are your expectations from the wearable industry in the coming years?

The wearable market is expected to remain on a growth trajectory in the next five years. Further, owing to the increasing penetration of technology, high rate of urbanization, and easy accessibility, we are confident that the wearable market in India will continue to grow. However, it is important to not just identify the present need of the customers but that of the future as well.

Moreover, there has been a significant change in customer behaviour and preferences in the last two years. Today, there’s an increased focus on wellbeing and wearables are becoming an integral part of our daily lifestyle. Be it a fitness band to keep a track of daily fitness goals or a truly wireless headset to cancel out the outside world and indulge in some soothing music, smart wearables have seamlessly integrated into our lifestyle.

For us, at Huawei, technology and innovation have been at the heart of everything we do. Having laid a strong emphasis on design, innovation, and superior experience, our devices have resonated well with our customers. Living in today’s connected world, IoT is going to be a key aspect in the future of technology, globally. We align with this aspect because while wellness might be the sole focus today, it is artificial intelligence that is going to revolutionize the wearable industry in the future. Being a customer-centric brand, we continue to constantly invest in our R&D and strive to address the needs of our consumers with technology that is both essential and usable to everyone.

Can you please tell us about the upcoming consumer demands, trends, and the company’s key focus areas?

Innovation is a continuous journey, and the needs of consumers are ever-evolving. Like pretty much everyone in the world, daily dependency on our smart wearables have increased. Packed into compact, lightweight form factors, wearables have become increasingly popular over the past few years, especially after the pandemic. Moreover, while wellness might be the primary focus today, it is artificial intelligence that is going to revolutionise the smartwatch industry in the future.

The smart wearables industry is already on a sharp growth trajectory, not only in India but also in the global market. With the increasing demand for more powerful devices, better connectivity, and immersive experience, we expect to witness more such smart wearables which can make our lives easier. Being a customer-centric brand, Huawei will continue to constantly invest in R&D and strive to address the needs of the consumers with technology that is both essential and usable to everyone. With that in mind, 2022 will be the year when the focus of Huawei will be on making technological breakthroughs that will simplify and secure each and everything we do.

What are the strategies that worked for Huawei? Also, tell us about the sale drivers for Huawei in India?

Customer-centricity has been the cornerstone of Huawei’s strategy in India and this has worked out well for us. We understand the need of our consumers and have always strived to make meaningful innovations. We also believe in democratizing technology, by making our innovations accessible and affordable throughout our product offerings. We have been able to enable this by ensuring that our flagship features are not just limited to our premium offerings but across our product portfolio.

Huawei has a loyal customer base in India who love and admire our devices and have stood by us throughout our journey. Our products are revered by many, and we have received a lot of appreciation for some of our latest wearables and being the best-seller is a testament to the position we enjoy in the market. Huawei Band 6 has, especially, received a lot of public appreciation and praise owing to the premium yet practical features packed in the smart band and its affordability.

“Huawei has a loyal customer base in India who love and admire our devices and have stood by us throughout our journey. Our products are revered by many, and we have received a lot of appreciation for some of our latest wearables and being the best-seller is a testament to the position we enjoy in the market”

What are the plans of Huawei for the Indian market in 2022?

India is a very important market for Huawei, and we have a very focused yet dynamic strategy. Having laid a strong emphasis on design, innovation, and superior experience, our devices have resonated well with our customers. We have always ensured that we level up our ante wherever there’s an opportunity and therefore, have remained focused on every department of our business here be it our services, sales, marketing, or community. We are also constantly investing in our R&D and strive to address the needs of our consumers with technology that is both essential and usable to everyone.

Can you please tell us about the challenges you faced in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown in India?

The last two years have been challenging for every individual and organization across industries, globally. The pandemic had created several challenges in the industry, such as disruption in the supply chain but it was essential for us to remain nimble and committed to our goals. While ensuring services to our consumers were uninterrupted, the safety and wellbeing of our people have been of utmost importance. Towards this, we had introduced numerous initiatives to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of our people and help them tide over the pandemic. From setting up an emergency team and offering hospitalization support to administering vaccines on-site and onboarding senior doctors for round-the-clock support, employee health and safety has been Huawei’s top priority. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the company has committed to supporting and aiding every member of the Huawei family.

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