A mobile phone startup called Honor has quietly emerged out of one of the largest technology companies on the planet.

Honor - now 100 days old and behind smartphones such as the Honor 6, the Honor 3C and new Honor Holly - is the “cool” new company being pushed by multibillion pound Chinese tech firm, Huawei. 


In just over three months, Honor, described to me as a startup with the backing of a very powerful multinational, has sold over 30 million devices in 60 countries.

While those behind Honor do not deny the link to Huawei, which employs over 150,000 people worldwide, they're not exactly shouting about it either.

Indeed, the word "Huawei" isn't mentioned once in the Honor Holly press release and one has to scroll to the bottom of the Honor website and squint to see: "Copyright © Huawei Technologies Netherlands B.V. 1998-2015. All rights reserved." 

Shenzhen-headquartered Huawei has dominated the Chinese mobile market in recent years with well priced, high-spec devices like the P6 and P7 but it has struggled to compete with Apple and Samsung in the UK and Europe. 

Huawei clearly hopes to increase its share of the global mobile market through the Honor brand, which doesn’t carry any of the baggage that Huawei has accumulated. 

Huawei’s image was tarnished in the UK, the US and other western nations after a number of governments said they were concerned that Huawei was building backdoors into equipment that would allow the Chinese government to intercept communications on foreign nations. 

To this day, Huawei is still having to deny the allegations, with Ren Zhengfei, the company's founder last month saying Huawei is incapable of of supporting cyber espionage.

Lars Weisswange, head of the Honor business in Western Europe, denied claims that Huawei had set up the new brand in a bid to disassociate itself with some of the Huawei-manufactured handsets, as did Huawei's UK communications director, Ed Brewster. 

But spying allegations aren't the only thing that could be holding Huawei's mobile phone business back in certain nations.

Huawei is trying to transition from being seen as a company focusing purely on telecoms and networking to one that sells mobile handsets to end users - no easy feat. 

Honor’s success to date is down to the fact that it’s appealing to a hip, young and engaged audience, according to Weisswange, adding that Honor is being heavily promoted across social media channels. 

"We want to be the leading brand in the Android World," he said at the UK launch of the Honor Holly device in London yesterday.