SHENZHEN — Huawei has handed international project duties for its key Honor smartphone brand to FleishmanHillard following a competitive review, the Holmes Report has learned.

The six-figure assignment, which involves project-based HQ support for Huawei's UK work out of Shenzhen, expands FleishmanHillard's existing relationship with the Chinese technology giant.

It is understood that a number of Huawei roster PR agencies pitched for the assignment, which does not affect Burson-Marsteller's existing relationship with the Chinese company from its Hong Kong office.

The move comes after Racepoint Global, another Huawei agency, took on the lucrative Honor US remit earlier this year. Other Huawei PR firms include Cohn & Wolfe, H+K Strategies and Ogilvy PR.

Despite its  cost-conscious positioning, Honor has emerged as a key factor in Huawei's rise to second spot among global smartphone makers, overtaking Apple in the process. Honor accounts for around 40% of Huawei's total sales, with its Internet-focused model helping to drive prices down and appeal to younger consumers across the world.

Internationally, Honor targets around 20 markets including the US and Russia, with sales from these markets expected to match domestic shipments within the next four to five years, up from approximately 15 to 20% now.

Both Huawei and FleishmanHillard declined to comment on the news. A Burson-Marsteller representative confirmed the development but noted that Huawei had renewed its global Honor remit with the firm in September.