(Corrects Huawei executive George Zhao’s title, paragraph 3)
BEIJING, April 28 (Reuters) - Huawei Technologies Co Ltd launched on Tuesday the Honor 4C smartphone, the latest bid by the Chinese technology firm to gain market share in the highly competitive budget handset segment from domestic rivals such as Xiaomi Inc.
The phone has a 5-inch display, slightly larger than the iPhone 6 and the same as Xiaomi’s Mi 4 smartphone, and starts at 799 yuan ($129). By comparison, the iPhone 6 starts at around $750 while the Mi 4 costs around $250.
To cut on marketing costs, the Honor 4C will be sold primarily online through outlets including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Tmall, George Zhao, the president of Huawei’s Honor brand, told the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.
Zhao and Alibaba vice president Jeff Zhang also said the smartphone launch coincided with a “new level” of corporate ties between the their two companies. They declined to give details.
Formed by Huawei less than two years ago as a largely independent unit, Honor has released several budget smartphones which, like Xiaomi, it has sold almost exclusively online.
Huawei said it had sold 20 million Honor handsets last year, nearly a third of the 60 million handsets Xiaomi sold during the same period.
Huawei, which is also one of the world’s largest makers of telecoms network equipment, ranked fourth in global smartphone sales last year, shipping 68 million units, giving it a 5.5 percent share, according to research group Gartner. ($1 = 6.2065 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Gerry Shih and Paul Carsten; Editing by Miral Fahmy)