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China’s Huawei makes a second attempt in Brazil smartphone market

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is a second attempt to crack the Brazilian market for smartphones, the fourth largest in the world, with the launch of two high-end devices this month, after his cheap offer failed to catch on earlier in the decade.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Huawei is pictured on the front of the German headquarters of the Chinese telecommunications giant in Dusseldorf, Germany, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang rattay

The move will take Huawei out of its current role in Brazil as a supplier of mobile devices in the network to challenge Samsung Electronics Co and Lenovo Group Motorola brand that dominate the local market of smartphones.

“Brazil is a market with huge opportunities for Huawei and we have a competitive portfolio to meet their expectations,” said Ketrina Dunagan, Huawei’s vice-president of marketing for the Americas, in a statement by e-mail to Reuters.

Huawei’s plans for Brazil, underscore the emergence of Chinese companies that expand in Latin America in the technology and consumer sectors, going beyond a traditional focus on resources and infrastructure.

Brazil is a rare Latin-American market, where Huawei’s phones are still absent from the store shelves. The company currently sells phones in more than a dozen countries in the region, often with a double-digit market share.

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

Now, Huawei is planning to import two premium devices from the new P30 Series, which are equipped with high-resolution cameras, the company said, withholding details ahead of a 30 April launch.

“The commercial strategy is completely different this time, because the brand is still not well known by the Brazilians,” says a person familiar with the matter, requesting anonymity to speak openly about plans that have not yet been made public.

Whereas five years ago, Huawei established as a supplier of mobile providers, who sell just a tenth of the new smartphones in Brazil, this time the company is looking to partner with retail chains that sell more than two-thirds of handsets, the source said.

More advanced models should also help Huawei to lure the attention of increasingly sophisticated buyers.

“The Brazilian market has reached a maturity level and manufacturers to bring innovations to convince consumers to replace their smartphones for new,” said Renato Meireles, a research analyst at IDC Brasil.

Also the sales of smartphones in Brazil is expected to be 4.3 percent this year, Meireles added, after a 6.8 percent decrease in 2018.

“The first half is still influenced by economic and political turbulence, but sales should improve in the second half with the arrival of new players,” he said.

Reporting by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Brad Haynes and Bernadette Baum

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