Smart watches will replace smartphones, says Huami CEO

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Huang Wang, CEO at Huami. Image Credit: TechNode/TechCrunch

At 2018 TechCrunch Shenzhen 2018, Huami Corporation’s Chairman and CEO Wang Huang, spoke on the future of wearable devices. Huami, a Xiaomi eco-chain company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in February this year. As of last year, Huami shipped 18.1 million units of smart wearable devices globally, and had recorded a total register use base of 56.1 million.

Wang Huang told participants that Huami has produced smart bands since 2014. The third generation Mi Band 3 is equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that can be used on bus and subway networks in over 160 cities across China, and can also open smart locks.

“Wearable devices have rapidly entered the ecosystem, most significantly in healthcare,” he said. “I believe that one day smart watches will take the place of smartphones.”

While it is true that there has been a craze for smartwatches has gone up over the years, but still when it comes to making a style statement a watch under $200 is more than sufficient to bring out class and complete an attire of a person.

Wang Huang introduced Huami’s self-developed smart wearable AI chip, Huangshan-1, created using open instruction set architecture ISA RISC-V.

“This chip enables Huami to deliver heart rate monitoring, and check for a number of heart complaints,” Wang said. It draws on cloud-based AI to screen for diseases on something as small as a wristband or watch. Even when you are not online, it updates your health stats, he added.

Wang discussed Huami’s market positioning as a company that collects physical data on its clients. As a user-oriented smart device business, Huami collects health data and suggests further services in a closed loop business model.  He said that until the recent Singles’ Day (November 11) shopping festival, Huami had sold more than 30 million units of its Mi Band 2. In the last five months, it has shipped more than 10,000 Mi Band 3s.

Wang said Huami had grown even faster overseas than in China. Europe is now the company’s second largest market. Europeans’ love of sport is a key contributing factor, he said.

Huami is seeking out various partners across the world. The company is working with Israeli firms to develop algorithms, and with Norwegian university research institutes to develop med tech. On a global level, Huami collaborates with Google and other top firms, and is able to leverage channels opened by its partner Xiaomi.

In China, Huami focuses on cooperation with investors and app developers. Wang Huang talked about a maker of smart watches and bands that can monitor elderly care home residents, and about marathon runners who use Huami to monitor their progress at 3-kilometer intervals.

Wang spoke of Huami’s relationship with Xiaomi, its second largest shareholder and main market channel.

“Huami positions itself as a sports and health sector big data firm. Xiaomi positions itself further upstream, as a major IoT platform,” Huang said referring to Internet of Things. The companies work closely together, and have interconnected ecosystems.

Wang said the tech world should watch out for a “revolutionary” new wearable smart device that Huami will launch in 2019.

This story is a translation from TechNode’s Chinese-language sister site. Translator: Heather Mowbray. With contributions from Runhua Zhao.