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Huawei Plots Big Smartphone Push In Bangladesh

Huawei, the Chinese multinational telecom company, is planning big smartphone push in Bangladesh. The company has a strong footing in Bangladesh, an already competitive market, and now is investing heavily in strengthening distribution channel, building customer service points and brand awareness and aims to be the largest smartphone brand in the country by 2018.

Currently, Samsung holds the leadership position in smartphone category in terms of import value followed by Symphony and Walton.

Huawei, currently the 3rd largest smartphone brand in Bangladesh, holds 18% of the total market share and aims to be the second largest brand by the next year. The company plans to introduce more handset models, open more brand shops and service centers and invest more in marketing and promotion.

To date, Huawei has over 19 models in the market, from the price range BDT 5000 to BDT 50,000. It has 350 brand shops with more than 3200 sales points and sells over 500,000 smartphones every month. By the end of this year, the company plans to open 13 service centers and sell 800,000 products a month within the next two to three years.

Huawei is a relatively late starter in the smartphone market in Bangladesh. After two years of tiptoeing, the company started to pay serious attention to smartphone market from late 2015. However, it has grown quite fast, thanks to excellent go to market strategy and price competitiveness of its products. Now, while eyeing for further growth, the company is focusing on quality products at a competitive price.

Globally, Huawei has just become the most profitable android smartphone brand displacing Samsung. The company controlled 2.4% of the global smartphone operating profit share ($200 million) in the third quarter of 2016, according to the South China Morning Post, followed by two other Chinese companies—Vivo and Oppo Electronics.

In Bangladesh, smartphone sales grew by a staggering 133% year-on-year in the 1st half of 2016 and the market is growing rapidly and predicted to be a $613 million market by 2020.

Competition has also grown in the recent years. Local upstarts, Symphony and Walton are doing quite well while previously dominant Samsung is struggling to keep its leadership in the market.

There is an ever-growing torrent of new entrants, including now aggressive Oppo, and Xiaomi, local importers like Maximus, Okapia, Indian brand Micromax and more.

Securing growth in such a competitive market will be quite a difficult feat to accomplish for any brand. While Huawei is spending heavily on marketing and building a solid distribution channel, the company will also need to provide cost-effective high-quality products to progress in the market.

Ruhul Kader contributed to this story.

Rahatil Ashekan is an undergraduate student at the University of Dhaka studying Accounting and Information Systems. He works as a reporting intern at FS and writes about startup, travel, and e-commerce. You may reach him at rahatilrahat@gmail.com.

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