Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has officially launched a limited edition Mate 8 smartphone, which is signed by Argentinian football player Lionel Messi.

Huawei originally launched the Mate 8 in end-November 2015 and then the company confirmed the device for international markets during the 2016 CES in January.

"With the Mate 8, we have delivered a device that meets the needs of a new style of business," said Kevin Ho, President, Handset Business, Huawei Consumer BG. "The Mate 8 is the ultimate high-end smartphone. It strikes the perfect balance between high performance and long battery life, enabling people to stay connected and be more productive in every facet of their lives."

Since the official launch in November, Huawei has shipped more than 3 million units of Mate 8 across the world. The limited edition Lionel Messi signed Mate 8 may push the mobile phone's sales even further.

"Lionel Messi will help our brand to encourage people to focus, persevere and breakthrough; to connect with greatness, especially in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, where Huawei puts great devotions. We both honor the path we walked to what we have achieved, and with each new challenge we renew our commitment to find the path to success," said Ho.

The limited edition Mate 8 will have 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of on-board storage, which is the same found on one of the regular Mate 8 devices. In China, the Lionel Messi signed Mate 8 will have a price tag of 4399 Yuan, about $670, which is similar to the regular Mate 8 with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage. The limited edition of the Mate 8 will be available only on Mocha Gold color with Messi's signature at the back.

Chinese smartphone makers are pushing hard to increase shipments of their handsets worldwide. According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report, Huawei held the third position in the list of top 5 smartphone vendors by shipments in the first quarter of 2016 only after Samsung and Apple.

"Huawei has proven that it can sell increasingly premium devices. In China, Huawei is already recognized as a premium brand, but it is now going toe-to-toe on build quality with premium devices like the Nexus 6P that are available worldwide," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team.

Currently, the limited edition Mate 8 has been announced only for Chinese market and there is no news if the handset will also be made available in other parts of the world. Given the popularity of Lionel Messi, many smartphone fans will want to purchase the limited edition of the Mate 8 in Latin America, Europe and more. It remains to be seen if Huawei launches the Lionel Messi signed Mate 8 in other parts of the world.

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