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

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.


Huawei's third-quarter revenue jumps 27% as smartphone sales surge

Updated 16 October 2019

Huawei's third-quarter revenue jumps 27% as smartphone sales surge

  • American companies, significantly disrupting its ability to source key parts
  • Huawei was all but banned by the United States in May from doing business with American companies

SHENZHEN, SHANGHAI: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s third-quarter revenue jumped 27%, driven by a surge in shipments of smartphones launched before a trade blacklisting by the United States expected to hammer its business.
Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecom network equipment and the No. 2 manufacturer of smartphones, was all but banned by the United States in May from doing business with American companies, significantly disrupting its ability to source key parts.
The company has been granted a reprieve until November, meaning it will lose access to some technology next month. Huawei has so far mainly sold smartphones that were launched before the ban.
Its newest Mate 30 smartphone — which lacks access to a licensed version of Google’s Android operating system — started sales last month.
Huawei in August said the curbs would hurt less than initially feared, but could still push its smartphone unit’s revenue lower by about $10 billion this year.
The tech giant did not break down third-quarter figures but said on Wednesday revenue for the first three quarters of the year grew 24.4% to 610.8 billion yuan.
Revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to 165.29 billion yuan ($23.28 billion) according to Reuters calculations based on previous statements from Huawei.
“Huawei’s overseas shipments bounced back quickly in the third quarter although they are yet to return to pre-US ban levels,” said Nicole Peng, vice president for mobility at consultancy Canalys.
“The Q3 result is truly impressive given the tremendous pressure the company is facing. But it is worth noting that strong shipments were driven by devices launched pre-US ban, and the long-term outlook is still dim,” she added.
The company said it has shipped 185 million smartphones so far this year. Based on the company’s previous statements and estimates from market research firm Strategy Analytics, that indicates a 29% surge in third-quarter smartphone shipments.
Still, growth in the third quarter slowed from the 39% increase the company reported in the first quarter. Huawei did not break out figures for the second quarter either, but has said revenue rose 23.2% in the first half of the year.
“Our continued strong performance in Q3 shows our customers’ trust in Huawei, our technology and services, despite the actions and unfounded allegations against us by some national governments,” Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly told Reuters.
The US government alleges Huawei is a national security risk as its equipment could be used by Beijing to spy. Huawei has repeatedly denied its products pose a security threat.
The company, which is now trying to reduce its reliance on foreign technology, said last month that it has started making 5G base stations without US components.
It is also developing its own mobile operating system as the curbs cut its access to Google’s Android operating system, though analysts are skeptical that Huawei’s Harmony system is yet a viable alternative.
Still, promotions and patriotic purchases have driven Huawei’s smartphone sales in China — surging by a nearly a third compared to a record high in the June quarter — helping it more than offset a shipments slump in the global market.