Huawei, which made inroads on both Apple and Xiaomi last year, has gradually developed itself into more of a consumer-facing brand. Eyeing both the domestic and international market, Huawei has looked to make its brand story and retail experience more global in feel.
But news this week that the Chinese brand plans to partner with classic German brand Leica to produce camera components for their phones is a strategic game changer. Leica, has become a favorite with photography fans globally, as they look to capture a classical essence to their shots.
Importantly, Leica’s reputation for quality would challenge Apple’s establishment of photography leadership within the mobile phone market (yes, those huge billboards) – an essential differentiator for Huawei both at home and abroad.
A very smart deal indeed
Huawei CEO Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer BG described the deal in the following terms: “We choose our partners carefully, and with this extraordinary collaboration we are offering our wide customer base and consumers the best elements of two expert brands in harmony: combining innovation and design, enhancing the user experience and continuing to inspire amazing advancement in human technology through exceptional premium imaging quality. Leica is a legend in the world of photography; we believe no other manufacturer has revolutionized the industry as much as them. We, Huawei, take the utmost pride in exceptional quality and Leica is in a class of its own in its sector.”
The logic is very compelling for both – Huawei, the world’s third largest mobile phone brand is in the process of making a transition to a premium positioning; with Leica, a luxury brand, looking to present their credentials to a larger global market.
The collaboration also provides the German brand exposure to Chinese consumers who are increasingly focussed on the quality of their photography. When it comes to photos of friends or selfies, a survey by ZDC Research Centre showed that close to 60% of Chinese consumers use their mobiles to take these emotionally important photos.
Strategic partnerships such as Huawei/Leica provide a possible model for Chinese brands looking to premiumize their local offer while looking to leverage international opportunities.