Yesterday Huawei held its Mate 20 Pro launch event in London, where the Chinese company launched a number of new devices and four new smartphones in particular.

Only one of those devices will be coming to South Africa later this month in the form of the flagship Huawei Mate 20 Pro, with the regular Mate 20 viewed as too similar an offering to the P20 series launched locally earlier in the year.

To find out why the newly unveiled Porsche Design Mate 20 RS and massive 7.2″ Mate 20 X were not coming to South Africa, we chatted to Huawei Consumer Business Group CTO, Akhram Mohamed, for an explanation.

A bit too soon

Starting with the Mate 20 RS, Mohamed tells us that the reason why it will not be officially launching in the country is the fact that its predecessor, the Porsche Design Mate RS, only landed in SA a few months ago, and commanded a price tag in the region of R27 000.

At the time it was considered a steep price indeed, but following the Apple iPhone Xs these high prices are becoming more commonplace.

Nevertheless, Mohamed and Huawei believe that it would be a little unfair on local consumers who have recently purchased a Porsche Design-branded device for nearly R30k and then bring a new offering into the country only a few months later for R30k+.

We can understand their point, but having gotten the change to experience the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS in London this week, it is a beautiful device, especially in the black version with matching leather.

Wait and see

As for the Huawei Mate 20 X, which is a few millimetres away from tablet territory, Mohamed notes that the company’s decision on not shipping it to SA stems from uncertainty.

Specifically when it comes to how the market would react to such a large smartphone.

While we understand their hesitance, when larger smartphones (or phablets as they were known then) first entered the market a few years ago, there was also a little bit of reluctance to bring them to SA, but manufacturers soon realised that consumers on the whole favoured phones with larger displays.

Add to that the fact that only the Mate 20 Pro is launching in South Africa, and there is certainly space for Huawei to bring a small batch of one of its other devices revealed in London into the country.

Another reason for the company’s hesitance is the mobile gaming market. While it is indeed booming thanks to games like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile, Huawei is still wanting to test their waters in SA to find out if local consumers are keen on such a large, gaming-focused device.

More to come? 

While we would have liked to see more than just the Huawei Mate 20 Pro come to South Africa later this month, it’s clear to see that the Chinese company is diversifying its smartphone portfolio and showing that it’s hardware can compare favourably with what Samsung and Apple can bring out.

As their local presence also grows, and their brand continues to be a fixture on the local landscape, we’re quite confident that more of the devices showcased at global events will begin to ship to South Africa in the coming years.