Huawei’s big plans for South Africa in 2022 — including a P50 launch

Huawei will be bringing a range of new products to South Africa in 2022, including its flagship P50 series smartphones.

That is the word from former Huawei South Africa consumer business CTO Ahkram Mohamed, who recently spoke to MyBroadband before switching to become chief cybersecurity and privacy officer.

Moving away from its early days as a maker of only routers and radio network equipment, Huawei’s P-series established the brand as a serious player in the high-end smartphone market globally and in South Africa.

Huawei offered the smartphones at highly-competitive prices for a premium smartphone, piling the pressure on its main Android rival Samsung, whose flagship prices had climbed to equal those of Apple.

But its swift rise in the smartphone world came to an abrupt end when the US banned its companies from selling hardware or software to Huawei.

That cut Huawei off from Google apps and Google Mobile Services (GMS), and left it without the services of chip fabricators for its high-end smartphones.

In August 2021, the Huawei P50 became the first in the P-series line-up in several years not to be launched outside of China in its first year of release.

Akhram explained that global supply chain challenges and chip shortages made it impossible for Huawei to launch the phone in South Africa or anywhere else in the world but China.

But he emphasised that South Africa remained a “tier-one” country for Huawei global and would be for a long time.

“Our P-Series is what established us as a brand, and we have huge loyalty in this range,” Mohamed said.

“As soon as that product is made global, and I can tell you this will be in early 2022, South Africa will receive the P50 series. I can confirm that.”

Despite its China-only launch and limited availability, a handful of reviewers from other countries have been able to get their hands on the P50 series.

The top-end P50 Pro sports a Kirin 9000 chip, 8GB RAM, 1,228 x 2,700 OLED display, and a powerful rear quad-camera setup that has again emphasised Huawei’s reputation for excellent photographic capabilities.

Camera reviewing site DxOMark ranked the P50 Pro’s camera as the best on any smartphone as of December 2021, labelling it as “outstanding in all areas“.

With a score of 144, it beat the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro+.

The P50 Pro sports a 50MP primary camera, 64MP periscope telephoto lens, 13MP ultrawide camera, and 40MP monochrome sensor

MyBroadband asked Mohamed about plans for other new Huawei devices in South Africa in 2022.

The company recently introduced its first monitors to its local product line-up, joining its smartphones, tablets, routers, laptops, audio devices, and wearables.

One intriguing offering it has launched abroad is the Huawei Vision smart TV.

Mohamed said Huawei would continue to diversify its offering but that it did not want to flood the market with products that offered no benefit or weren’t in demand among South Africans specifically.

“We are not going to bite off more than we can chew,” he stated. “We also need to bring value, so you can’t just bring one TV set, put it in a channel, and then you are outpriced and not competitive enough.”

He explained that Huawei’s approach would be to build out its “super-device” strategy to offer an ecosystem of technology that enhances consumers’ lifestyles in various respects.

“We started first with audio; then we went into wearables, then laptops. Now you are starting to see screens,” he said.

“There is lot’s more to come from us, but it will be in a phased approach.”

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Huawei’s big plans for South Africa in 2022 — including a P50 launch