Huawei has chosen the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat as one of its main sales channels through which to sell its new flagship smartphone; the Honor 6.
The option of using WeChat as a retail platform only became available after the messaging app integrated the online retailer JD.com into its service to create a virtual store, accessible through the app.
Consequently, JD (which is China’s second largest e-commerce company after Alibaba Group) is now reporting that its WeChat store received 550,000 pre-orders for the Honor 6, before the handset’s physical release earlier this week.
Additionally, JD added that this is the first time for the JD-WeChat store to team up with a smartphone manufacturer.
Analysts believe that the partnership makes sense for both firms. Commenting on the deal, The Wall Street Journal noted that it allows Huawei to broaden its customer base beyond its reliance upon Chinese network operators. Meanwhile, as the main venue for a major product launch, it allows WeChat to present itself to its members as a place for shopping.
Last month, JD and Huawei launched a promotional event in which WeChat users tried to win a free Honor 6 phone by correctly guessing its price ahead of its release. The store has also been running ads for the Honor 6.
In terms of the smartphone itself, the Honor 6 is an impressive piece of hardware. It’s got a quad-HD resolution 5-inch display. It has an octa-core processor, developed by Huawei (which the Chinese manufacturer boasts is more powerful than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805). It has 3GB of RAM and a 13MP rear-facing camera made by Sony. The device’s case and UI look a lot like an iPhone’s, but that’s hardly a complaint.
It went on sale this week for 1,999 yuan ($322) in China. Huawei has not confirmed a worldwide release yet.