Huawei phone

New Huawei Phone Comes at Crucial Time for Chinese Company

Huawei’s new smartphone has an improved camera, its latest advanced chipset and better battery. What it may not have outside of the Chinese tech giant’s home market are huge numbers of buyers.

Huawei, which recently became the world’s largest smartphone maker, unveiled its premium Mate 40 phone line on Thursday, a product release that comes at a crucial time for the company as it lacks the leeway to circumvent US sanctions limiting its ability to source components and software.

The Mate 40 could be the last to be powered by the company’s Kirin chipsets due to US restrictions in May that banned non-US companies from using US technology in unlicensed manufacturing.

Analysts say the company was stockpiling chips before the ban, but its supply won’t last forever.

“This is a major challenge for Huawei and it is really losing its market outside of China,” said Mo Jia, an analyst at independent research firm Canalys. The latest US restrictions mean it “has shut down Huawei’s doors 100% to secure future components.”

Executives said this summer that production of Kirin chips will end in mid-September because they are made by contractors who need American-made technology. In a press preview this week ahead of the Mate 40’s launch, staff declined to answer questions about Huawei’s ability to source chips. Huawei’s head of consumer activities, Richard Yu, only briefly touched on the matter at the end of a virtual launch event on Thursday.

“For Huawei, we are living in a very difficult time today. We are suffering from the United States
the ban on the third round of government. It is an unfair ban. This makes (the situation) extremely difficult, ”Yu said.

Huawei, which is also a major supplier of wireless networking equipment, faces pressure in a larger global battle between the United States and China over trade and technological supremacy. The U.S. government’s efforts to pressure its allies in Europe not to give it a role in new high-speed 5G wireless networks due to cybersecurity concerns have paid off, countries like Sweden and Britain blocking his equipment.

Huawei phones are not widely available in the United States, but they are sold in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The company rose to the top of the global smartphone rankings this summer, dethroning Samsung from first place by shipping 55.8 million devices in the second quarter to gain a 20% market share, according to the firms. Canalys and International Data Corp studies. the performance was driven by strong growth in China while smartphone sales in the rest of the world fell due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts say it will be difficult for Huawei to stay No.1.

“Huawei is in a tough spot,” said Ben Wood, chief research officer at CCS Insight. Along with the US sanctions, it is also affected by the drop in brand confidence that makes retailers less eager to stock their phones. “And unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll see the Mate 40 performing particularly well outside of China.”

Huawei has a small but enthusiastic fan base in Europe, its biggest market outside of China. But some users are put off by the idea of ​​sticking with the brand due to a related issue: recent models like the Mate 40, priced at 899 euros ($ 1,070) and above, cannot run the system. Google’s full Android exploitation because of a series of US sanctions.

Instead, they come with a simplified open source version of Android, which lacks Google’s Play Store and can’t run popular apps like Chrome, YouTube, and Search.

Mark Osten, a 29-year-old architect in Preston, England, bought a Huawei P30 last year at the end of his previous Samsung phone’s contract.

He says the camera is great but is hesitant to recommend the brand to others due to uncertainty.

“I just can’t imagine life without YouTube or Google,” Osten said.

To make up for the loss of Google services, Huawei created its own app store and paid developers to build apps for it. Users can request apps that are not yet available, but that’s not something Chloe Hetelle, a 35-year-old event planner in Toulouse, France, who bought a Huawei P20 model ago. is two years after switching from an iPhone.

“I don’t want to ask for apps, I just want to have YouTube,” Hetelle said. “I don’t really want to struggle to get something that I can easily get with another phone.”

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