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HONOR is looking beyond China, but its next market is even tougher

Between high taxes and the popularity of Motorola and Samsung, Brazil isn't an easy market to win over.

Published onFebruary 26, 2024

HONOR CEO George Zhao at MWC 2024.
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
  • HONOR CEO George Zhao has outlined the company’s expansion plans.
  • The firm said it wants to grow in Latin America and views Brazil as “crucially important.”
  • Brazil has proven to be an immensely tough market for smartphone brands, though.

HONOR is a huge name in the Chinese market, vying with Apple and HUAWEI for the number one spot in the country. Now, the smartphone manufacturer has outlined its plans for expansion.

“Three years from now, over 50% of HONOR’s sales will come from the global market,” HONOR CEO George Zhao noted to a group of journalists (including Android Authority).

Zhao added that HONOR wants to grow its presence in Latin America over the next three years, specifically pointing to Brazil as a key target.

“HONOR is eager to enter Brazil, and we are preparing for that,” the smartphone executive explained, adding that they wanted to ensure a strong supply chain before entering the country. He also stressed that Brazil is “crucially important” for the manufacturer.

Zhao broadly outlined how it planned to compete in Brazil:

The smartphone is a universal product. It’s used in Europe, Brazil, in the Middle East the same (sic). If Honor can compete with Samsung in the premium market in Europe, I believe we can compete in Brazil. Motorola also has business in China, but its market size is pretty low. For us, we have confidence about our product portfolio.

One of the toughest markets in the world

Honor Magic 6 Pro Epi Green
Paul Jones / Android Authority

It’s easier said than done for a smartphone manufacturer to succeed in Brazil, though. The country has long been dominated by Samsung and Motorola and has proven to be a tough nut to crack for new entrants.

Compounding matters is the fact that Brazilians have traditionally paid a fortune in sales tax on smartphones. This has resulted in companies like Motorola manufacturing phones locally to reduce taxes and offer more competitive prices.

The good news is that Zhao acknowledged these manufacturing and tax challenges. However, the company didn’t announce any concrete plans to address these hurdles just yet.

Needless to say, it will take more for HONOR to succeed in Brazil than merely offering better-quality smartphones. So we hope the company does indeed have solutions before jumping footlong into the market.