Huawei relaunch 5G phone despite US sanctions

Huawei, the Chinese tech conglomerate, is planning to relaunch 5G phones as soon as next year to get around the stranglehold of US sanctions and regain market share.

The company is blacklisted by Washington from acquiring US technology for 5G smartphones but is developing strategies to bypass sanctions, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Two people familiar with the company’s plans said one approach is to redesign its smartphone without using restrictive advanced chips. Huawei It is used to produce Kirin chips designed by HiSilicon and manufactured by leading chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co before the tightening of US restrictions.

The company is remaking its phones to Use less advanced chips Made by Chinese companies that will enable 5G. Less advanced chips may affect the user experience, especially compared to Huawei’s previous generation phones and competing Apple iPhone 14 phones.

Huawei, China’s national hero held up by rising geopolitical tension between Washington and Beijing, is working to regain lost market share after its sales plunged in the wake of US sanctions in 2019. revenue from Its smartphone-led consumer business declined 50 percent year-over-year in 2021.

“This company cannot wait indefinitely and needs to bring 5G phones back to market as soon as possible,” said a person familiar with Huawei’s plans.

Huawei lost its leading position in the mobile phone market due to US sanctions years ago. Now even their domestic market share is dwindling.”

Another sanctions solution that Huawei is considering is collaborating on a 5G-enabled phone case product, according to two people familiar with the matter.

There are already phone cases on the market. One of the cases, developed by Shenzhen-listed Soyea Technology, has an integrated eSIM module with chipsets that support 5G connectivity.

Within weeks of Huawei launching the Mate 50 series in September, China Telecom, a Chinese government telecom group, began selling the phone with cases. This year, Soyea also launched Huawei P50 Pro phone cases.

“The company is doing its best to attract users at a time when the consumer market is weak,” said a Shanghai-based technical analyst, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions.

Huawei’s quest to overcome US restrictions and regain its position as the world’s largest smartphone vendor is a matter of national importance to Beijing as it develops Technological self-sufficiencyAnalysts said.

“China’s plan for technology self-sufficiency could be a potential driver to help Huawei join the 5G competition,” said Will Wong, a Singapore-based analyst at IDC Research.

But experts said that as long as US sanctions are in place, Huawei will be in a very difficult position.

“It will take a long time for Huawei to build the internal or external supply chain it needs to pull that out of it, and we will likely be in the 6G era before that is done,” said Douglas Fuller, an expert on the semiconductor industry in China. .

The sanctions have frustrated Huawei’s plans to confront Apple. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, admitted in a media interview in July that the group was “the only manufacturer selling 4G phones in the 5G era,” which he said was a “joke.”

Customers in China are starting to resist rising prices for Huawei phones that lack 5G services.

In just one week [after Huawei launched Mate 50]said Michael Lee, owner of a repair shop in Shenzhen.

Some customers even brought their Mate 40, a previous generation of Huawei 5G phones, and asked if Li could put old phones chips into the new device. “Of course, this is beyond my ability.”

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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