Why is Huawei hiding behind Honor?

Let’s be clear. I don’t think Huawei is some kind of Chinese fifth column. I think it has consistently demonstrated good faith in its dealings outside China, and I’m generally happy to stand by that.

But now something has given me pause for thought.

A new smartphone brand has just launched in Europe. It’s called Honor, and it hopes to shake-up the consumer mobile sector with more appealing pricing and a direct connection with the customer, rather than selling through faceless mobile phone shops.

Its debut model is the Honor 6, launched today.

Powered by an octa-core Kirin920 chipset and integrated with LTE Advanced communication modules supporting LTE Cat6 protocol category, the Honor 6 can achieve download speeds of up to 300Mbps, the fastest in the world, claim the makers.

Oh, but there’s one thing the people who drafted the press release didn’t think fit to mention. Honor is not just Honor. Honor is a new Huawei brand.

Whoa there! Hold on a minute! Huawei?

So now I’m a bit worried.

I asked Honor why this wasn’t being made clearer, and they sent me this statement:

Honor’s parent company is Huawei but it is an entirely new brand. It is a brand that will grow and be shaped by its audience and supporters. It is in the fortunate position of being able to benefit from the extensive hardware and software experience and global footprint of the Huawei parent company, but it is run by a dedicated team and is run as a separate business.

Honor is a subsidiary company of Huawei and the relationship between the two brands is complementary. We plan to continue this relationship on an ongoing basis.

Honor products will not be branded Huawei as Honor is now a brand in its own right.

Huawei has previously released Honor devices under the Huawei brand. But from this moment on, Honor is a new brand.  We know there is a real opportunity to create a brand for the digital native generation and our Honor devices are best positioned to meet their needs. It makes sense to use the Honor name for this new brand as it already has some awareness amongst our audience.

I understand that Huawei wants to let the Honor brand speak for itself and stand on its own two feet, that’s fair. And to be even more scrupulously fair it does have a copyright notice (at the bottom of its website in small type).

But when you are consistently criticised over trust and security, deliberately obfuscating the facts about what you’re up to is a worry. In my view, if Huawei wants to be trusted, Huawei doesn’t get to hide.

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