April 30, 2019 / 10:14 PM / 3 months ago

Huawei partners with local retailers to sell flagship smartphones in Brazil

SAO PAULO, April 30 (Reuters) - China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on Tuesday launched two high-end smartphone handsets in Brazil, making its second attempt to penetrate the world’s fourth-largest smartphone market, broadening its footprint in Latin America.

“We are in a very different market share position than we were five years ago and we’re seeing tremendous brand momentum,” Ketrina Dunagan, Huawei’s vice president of marketing for the Americas, said in an interview on the sidelines of the launch event in Sao Paulo.

Both devices, the P30 Pro and P30 Lite, will be available through eight online and brick-and-mortar channels as of May 17, she said, adding suggested prices are 2,499 reais ($638) and 5,499 reais ($1,403), respectively.

Local retailers Magazine Luiza, Via Varejo , B2W, Fast Shop and wireless carrier Telefonica Brasil will be among those selling the phones, according to Dunagan.

P30 Series handsets will be imported from China at first, but Huawei is considering local production to match demand if needed.

“Our first priority is delivering this latest innovation to the Brazilian consumer as fast as we possibly can, but we are hiring people locally to manage the business here and establish what is necessary to ensure our success in Brazil,” Dunagan said.

The world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer first launched a smartphone in Brazil in 2014, but the simpler Ascend P7 handset met with weak demand and the project was discontinued.

Dunagan refused to provide projected sales estimates for the P30 Series in Brazil, but said marketing efforts will be initially focused in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília.

Smartphone sales in Brazil are expected to fall 4.3 percent to 42.5 million units this year, according to research firm IDC Brasil, after a 6.8 percent drop in 2018.

But Huawei is betting these new models can lure increasingly sophisticated buyers, potentially challenging Samsung Electronics Co and Lenovo Group’s Motorola brand, which currently dominate the local smartphone market.

“Brazil is very unique and a huge market for smartphones ... Although the overall market size is not growing, the premium segment over 3,000 reais is growing,” Dunagan said.

$1 = 3.9169 reais Reporting by Gabriela Mello Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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