Not long ago, Huawei announced that it will soon begin construction on a dedicated warehouse in Johannesburg. Its aim? To reduce delivery times of new devices to local retailers from three weeks to as little as three days.
Locally, Huawei currently owns about 10% of the smartphone market. This is impressive when one considers its competition, and the amount of time that the brand has been in the local smartphone space, relative to brands like Apple and Samsung.
What is most notable about Huawei, however, is its product offering.
Although this may be unpopular with Apple aficionados, the simple fact is that the iPhone is prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of South Africans. Even Apple’s “budget” iPhone XR is priced just slightly below Huawei’s flagship, the Mate 20 Pro.
Samsung has a similar strategy to Huawei when it comes to a multi-tiered offering, but, in my opinion, unless one opts for one of Samsung’s flagship devices, one is often met with the same old hardware, the same old experience, the same old feeling.
This is where Huawei really seems to be headed in the right direction.
I am a big believer in the fact that your smartphone should invoke a sense of joy whenever you pick it up. It should feel special to hold, special to engage with. When your smartphone is in your hand, you should have the sense that you are holding something unique, fun, immaculately crafted and technologically advanced. Huawei’s devices certainly seem to get this right.
The iPhone is a thing of beauty. It is a pleasure to hold and its user interface is clean, simple and elegant. It’s a wonderful thing, but you must be prepared to pay for this experience. And boy do you pay. Somehow though, Huawei has managed to replicate this feeling, this experience, even with its wallet-friendly P20 Lite and Honor devices. Yes, we get this experience with the Samsung Galaxy S-Series and Note devices, but, again, they come at a premium.
It could be said that when it comes to that “special” feeling we search for in a smart device, Huawei’s devices are iPhone-esque, but at a fraction of the price.
So, where does Huawei’s genius lie?
Huawei seems to have every corner of the market covered. Yes, Samsung operates in a similar way, but specification-wise, Huawei seems to offer devices in each category that could quite easily belong to the price point above it.
For many South Africans, devices that offer high-end specifications and functionality have simply not been an option due to the costs associated with owning such devices. Huawei is making this a thing of the past, and adoption of the brand will no doubt continue to rise rapidly as it makes further inroads into the market by providing solutions at every price point. I think that that optimal word here is “solutions”. Huawei is providing solutions to consumers that find themselves in a country affected by a struggling economy, a lack of jobs and the world’s highest rate of youth unemployment.
Huawei is working to provide South Africans with affordable devices, as well as improved connectivity – a combination that has the potential to produce a vast array of positive results for individual South Africans and the economy as a whole. The prospects are certainly exciting.
Many business professors will tell you to find a pain point and provide a solution. Huawei is doing this in a big way. Huawei seems to understand the South African market, and providing a wide range of devices will certainly stand it in good stead as it moves forward. Its decision to make a push into South Africa, and its strategy to do so, is brilliant. I have no doubt that Huawei’s product offerings will continue to be lapped up by the South African consumer as we discover, more and more, just how much value the brand has to offer.
The coming year will be an exciting one as we witness Huawei’s continued drive into the local market. It seems to have made the effort to understand the South African consumer, and in my book, any brand that does that deserves to win.
YouTube Music announces Smart Downloads, SA playlists
The service has introduced Smart Downloads which takes allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically.
The latest updates from YouTube Music, for subscribers of its Music Premium and Premium services, include a new feature that allows users to switch seamlessly between a song and its music video for an uninterrupted experience.
It has also introduced Smart Downloads which takes the work out of downloading music, allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically. YouTube Music has also announced new playlists for South Africa.
The updates all reflect features that are popular on the global leader in music streaming, Spotify, and that have been key to its growth.
YouTube said in a statement on Friday: “Imagine listening to a new track by your favourite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video – no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple tap that keeps the music flowing. This standout new feature from YouTube Music allows YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers to make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and/or watching. Whether you’re in the mood for listening or watching (or a little of both)… it’s all here – no app switching required.”
With Smart Downloads, YouTube Music automatically saves music at night, when connected to Wi-Fi, helping subscribers to use less mobile data, enjoy a smoother updating experience and save up to 500 songs offline using Liked Songs playlist as well as other playlists and albums.
Previously, music lovers could use the Offline Mixtape feature to download up to 100 songs, specifically chosen for them based on what they listened to most on the platform. Now, with Smart Downloads, they select the number of songs they would like automatically downloaded by toggling their YouTube Music Settings. This means YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Smart Downloads enabled on their mobile devices can now access hundreds of tracks regardless of connectivity.
This feature is currently available on Android, with plans to bring it to iOS in the future.
Click here to read more about YouTube Music playlists, and find out what is inside them.
Make cars, not waste
Jaguar Land Rover is trialling an innovative recycling process which converts plastic waste into a new premium grade material that could feature on future vehicles.
It’s estimated that the amount of waste plastic is predicted to exceed 12 million tonnes globally by 2050*. Today, not all of this plastic can be recycled for use in automotive applications – especially in vehicle parts that are required to meet the most exacting safety and quality standards.
Working in conjunction with chemical company, BASF, Jaguar Land Rover is part of a pilot project called ChemCycling that upcycles domestic waste plastic, otherwise destined for landfill or incinerators, into a new high-quality material.
The waste plastic is transformed to pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process. This secondary raw material is then fed into BASF’s production chain as a replacement for fossil resources; ultimately producing a new premium grade that replicates the high quality and performance of ‘virgin’ plastics. Importantly, it can be tempered and coloured making it the ideal sustainable solution for designing the next-generation dashboards and exterior-surfaces in Jaguar and Land Rover models.
Jaguar Land Rover and BASF are currently testing the pilot phase material in a Jaguar I-PACE prototype front-end carrier overmoulding to verify it meets the same stringent safety requirements of the existing original part.
Pending the outcome of the trials and progression in taking chemical recycling to market readiness, adoption of the new premium material would mean Jaguar Land Rover could use domestically derived recycled plastic content throughout its cars without any compromise to quality or safety performance**.
Chris Brown, Senior Sustainability Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge. Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers.
“At Jaguar Land Rover, we are proactively increasing recycled content in our products, removing single-use plastics across our operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle. The collaboration with BASF is just one way in which we are advancing our commitment to operating in a circular economy.”
This is the latest example of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to addressing the challenge of waste plastic. The company has collaborated with Kvadrat to offer customers alternative seat options that are both luxurious and sustainable. The high-quality material, available initially on the Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque, combines a durable wool blend with a technical suedecloth that is made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle.
Jaguar Land Rover has already met its 2020 target for Zero Waste to Landfill for UK operations. This includes the removal of 1.3 million m2 – equal to 187 football pitches – of plastic from its manufacturing lineside and replacing 14 million single use plastic items in business operations.
Together, these efforts are driving towards Jaguar Land Rover’s vision for Destination Zero; an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly-changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.
** All Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles tested have achieved a Euro NCAP 5* rating.