Huawei delays global launch of foldable phone by 3 months

The Mate X is a competitor to Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Fold. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 June 2019
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Huawei delays global launch of foldable phone by 3 months

  • The Mate X is expected to be rolled out globally in September
  • The delay comes as Huawei phones face being cut off from updates of Google’s Android operating system (OS) in the wake of the US blacklist

HONG KONG: Huawei will delay the launch of its much-touted foldable 5G Mate X smartphone by three months, the latest setback for the company that was slapped with US sanctions last month.
The Mate X, a competitor to Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Fold, is expected to be rolled out globally in September, Vincent Pang, Huawei’s head of corporate communications, said on the sidelines of the WSJ Tech D.Live conference in Hong Kong.
It was originally slated for a June launch.
The delay comes as Huawei phones face being cut off from updates of Google’s Android operating system (OS) in the wake of the US blacklist that bans American companies from doing business with the Chinese firm.
Pang, however, denied the delay was due to the ban, saying Huawei was in the process of running certification tests with various carriers that were expected to be completed in August.
He also told Reuters that Huawei, the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones, could roll out its Hongmeng operating system (OS) — which is being tested — within nine months.
“Our preference will of course be Google and Android as we have been partners for many years,” said Pang, also a senior vice president at Huawei. “But if the circumstances force us to, we can roll out Hongmeng in six to nine months.”
Hongmeng is based on the version of Android that is publicly available via open-source licensing and is mainly meant for phones, Pang said. Hongmeng will support other devices later.
Alphabet Inc’s Google has earlier said it would no longer provide Android software for Huawei phones after a 90-day reprieve granted by the US government expires in August.
Huawei has applied to trademark its Hongmeng OS in various countries, Reuters reported on Thursday, in a sign it may be deploying a back-up plan in key markets.
At home, Huawei applied for a Hongmeng trademark in August last year and received a nod last month, according to a filing on China’s intellectual property administration’s website.
Pang denied recent media reports that Huawei was canceling the roll out of its next new laptop and said it will still launch at a later date.
Ban fallout
Huawei has come under mounting scrutiny for over a year, led by US allegations that “back doors” in its routers, switches and other gear could allow China to spy on US communications.
The company has denied its products pose a security threat.
However, consumers spooked by how matters have escalated are offloading their devices amid Android worries.
Huawei’s hopes to become the world’s top-selling smartphone maker in the fourth quarter this year have now been delayed, a senior Huawei executive said this week.
Problems at Huawei, the world’s largest network-equipment maker, are spilling over to the broader chip industry.
Broadcom Inc. has warned of a broad slowdown in chip demand, blaming the US-China trade conflict and export restrictions on Huawei, and cut its revenue forecast for the year by 8%. Huawei accounted for about or 4% of the company’s overall sales last year.
Micron Technology Inc’s CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said at the WSJ conference on Friday that the ban on Huawei brings “uncertainty and disturbance” to the semiconductor industry.
Mehrotra said Micron was assessing impact from the ban on Huawei, one of its largest customers.


Singapore woes ring trade alarm bells

Singapore has long been viewed as a barometer of the global demand for goods and services. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2019
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Singapore woes ring trade alarm bells

  • Governments have slashed economic growth forecasts, and gauges in several countries measuring activity in the manufacturing and services sectors paint a bleak picture

SINGAPORE: A plunge in exports and the worst growth rates for a decade have fueled concerns about the outlook for Singapore’s economy, with analysts saying the figures offer a warning that Asia is heading for a slowdown as China-US tensions bite.
While it may be one of the smallest countries in the world, the export hub is highly sensitive to external shocks and has long been viewed as a barometer of the global demand for goods and services.
The affluent city-state is highly dependent on trade and has traditionally been one of the first places in Asia to be hit during global downturns — with ripples typically spreading out across the region. The latest signs are not good. In June, exports collapsed 17.3 percent from a year earlier, the fastest decline in more than six years, led by a fall in shipments of computer chips.
That followed a shock 3.4 percent quarter-on-quarter contraction in GDP in the second quarter. Year-on-year growth came in at just 0.1 percent, the slowest pace since 2009 during the global financial crisis.
“Singapore is the canary in the coal mine,” Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB Private Banking, told AFP. “And what it tells us is that it is a tough environment.”
To warn of danger, miners used to bring caged canaries underground with them as the birds would die in the presence of even a small amount of poisonous gas — signaling to workers that they should make a swift exit.

BACKGROUND

In June, exports in Singapore collapsed 17.3 percent from a year earlier, the fastest decline in more than six years, led by a fall in shipments of computer chips.

While steadily weakening growth in China is partly to blame for a slowdown in exports, analysts say the trade war between the US and China has dramatically worsened the situation.
While Singapore — a transit point for products heading to and from Western markets as well as the Asian base for manufacturers of some hi-tech goods — may be showing the strain most, negative data has emerged throughout the region.
Exports have been slipping across Asia. In India they plummeted 9.7 percent in June, in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, they dropped 8.9 percent in the same month while in South Korea they slipped 10.7 percent in May.
Governments have slashed economic growth forecasts, and gauges in several countries measuring activity in the manufacturing and services sectors paint a bleak picture.
Central banks are moving to spur domestic consumption, with Indonesia and South Korea cutting interest rates Thursday, the latest in Asia to lower borrowing costs.
Singapore’s central bank is seen as likely to ease monetary policy at an October meeting, and some economists are predicting the country could fall into recession next year.
“There are no winners in this trade war. While most of the attention has focused on the trade conflict between China and the US, the damage has not been confined to these two economies,” business consultancy IHS Markit said in a commentary.