Huawei has one sub-brand, HONOR, but the Chinese smartphone maker could create a second sub-brand for itself, “Nova,” based on its Nova smartphones. Huawei has officially announced that it will unveil its Nova 5 series on June 21st, but the company also filed for a “Nova” brand under parent company “Huawei Devices” (Dongguan).
Additionally, the Nova logo has received something of a slight transformation, which could indicate that Nova will become a new marketed brand as opposed to its past smartphone history.
Huawei’s decision to make Nova a second sub-brand under its umbrella has some asking why the second largest global smartphone maker would need to create a sub-brand. After all, it is every company’s dream to sell all its devices under one brand to create a unified brand and impression in the minds of consumers.
And yet, Huawei doesn’t have the privilege of being eligible for such an ideal marketing state at this point. Considering Huawei is now the target of the US Trump Ban, and will lose its Android license with Google, Huawei cannot make devices using Google’s Android.
Additionally, it cannot make its own Kirin SoCs because those processors mandate the use of ARM’s processor architecture (and ARM has American patents that it cannot use with Huawei, thus, no sales are possible).
Huawei’s image has been tarnished due to the Trump Ban and industry whispers for years that state that Huawei is in the back pocket of the Chinese Government and is an espionage tool for that same government. Additionally, though Huawei is somewhat reluctant to admit it, sales have languished since the Trump Ban was put into effect in mid-May.
In Germany and Spain, sales of its Mate devices have declined, as buyers see no need to purchase a device that will stop being update-eligible as of August 19th (in two months). And now, the Matebook has become the first technological casualty in the US-China trade war, as Huawei has no idea when it will produce this for the US.
As long as the ban remains in effect, the new Matebook will remain in limbo. Sub-brands are usually created for two reasons: image and profit. Huawei’s image has been tarnished due to it being a Chinese company, so creating a new sub-brand would add a second set of devices to Huawei’s portfolio that wouldn’t have the disdain of the Mate brand name.
Next, the word “Nova” can refer to a star, but it can also mean “new.” Perhaps that’s what Huawei is hinting at with this possible sub-brand: it wants to create something new, give a new image of the company as compared to the old image that is now tarnished. If customers can understand what the brand means (the meaning of “nova”), perhaps customers will be willing to invest in it.
Last but not least, there is the profit factor. A new sub-brand that many consumers would not suspect belongs to Huawei would offer consumers more choices in the smartphone market. Consumers may be willing to invest in a new brand, which would help Huawei make money during the difficult months the Trump Ban would be effective.
There could be an end to it all at some point down the line, but Huawei will lose its second-place status globally if it is unable to sell phones during the next few months. A second sub-brand is a second, untarnished income stream. Huawei isn’t the first Chinese company to create two smartphone sub-brands. BBK Electronics is the parent company to at least two smartphone sub-brands, OPPO and OnePlus.
Huawei announced its first Nova smartphones, the Huawei Nova and Huawei Nova Plus, back at IFA 2016 three years ago. Both smartphones were mid-rangers with 5-inch and 5.5-inch displays, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 processors, and 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage with €399-€429 price tags in Europe. The company released its Nova 2, 3, and 4 series in 2018. The Huawei Nova 5 series is scheduled for an announcement in Wuhan, China on Friday, June 21st.