‘R18‚000 for a phone I can't pronounce?’

07 November 2017 - 12:15 By Nivashni Nair
Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
Image: TechSmart via Twitter

“Why would I pay R17‚999 for a phone I can't pronounce?”

This was one of the online responses on Monday evening‚ after Huawei South Africa announced that its flagship device‚ the Huawei Mate 10 Pro‚ would cost South Africans R17‚999‚ or R699 per month‚ while the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10‚ available to only 1‚000 customers‚ will retail at R26‚999‚ or R899 per month.

However‚ the Chinese company was confident that South Africans would not hesitate to order the device when pre-sales opened on Tuesday.

"A few years ago‚ people struggled to pronounce the name‚ but this year we have already shipped 150-million Huawei devices worldwide‚" Huawei Consumer Business Group SA general manager Likun Zhao said at the launch in Cape Town on Monday.

According to Huawei's research‚ its flagship device offers features that every South African wants.

"When something is popular and marketed well‚ South Africans tend to gravitate towards that. In the past few years‚ they [have started] to understand that usability is important‚" Huawei product marketing director Akhram Mohamed told TimesLive.

"When we looked at bringing out a flagship device‚ we were under the impression that‚ for example‚ the stylus made a big difference in the South African market‚ based on sales of our competitors. But in our interviews‚ we found that fewer than 10% considered it the most important feature. What they want is an extended battery‚ processing ability‚ new technology and water resistance.”

According to Huawei‚ consumers will experience a "faster‚ more customised mobile experience"‚ thanks to the new Kirin 970 processor that powers the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

"We are bringing South Africa the first intelligent phone in the world. To be able to offer that kind of technology‚ there has to be a premium on it. Yes‚ it is a niche product. The pricing is quite high‚ but we are keeping it as low as we possibly can‚ considering what the device has to offer‚" Mohamed said.