Could Huawei return to the 5G smartphone market?


Following new technological developments, the firm plans to release new 5G smartphones within the year, according to reports 

Recent technological advancements from both Chinese chip firm Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co (SMIC) and Huawei’s own semiconductor design capabilities means that Huawei are now able to procure their 5G chips domestically, according to sources at unnamed research companies.  

This could allow Huawei to establish a reliable supply chain without involvement from US-based companies, with sources suggesting the company could release a 5G-capable version of its P60 smartphone later this year.   

New 5G smartphone models are expected to be announced next year. 

Huawei has been banned from engaging in business with the US since President Donald Trump issued an executive order in May 2019. The ban, which is still in place, extends to all international firms that the US government deems a national security risk.  

As a result of the order, Huawei’s US business with firms such as Google, Microsoft, and Intel quickly dried up, denying the company access to its vital American chipmaking partners. Without these partners, Huawei was unable to produce its most advanced phone models and therefore compete with market leaders like Apple and Samsung. 

Since the ban, consumer business revenue nosedived from 483 billion yuan ($67 billion) in 2020 to almost half that the following year, leaving Huawei struggling to keep their head above water in the smartphone market.  

Last year, Huawei reported their biggest annual profit decline on record, with their $5.18 billion in profits down 69% year-on-year. 

But while these new domestic 5G chip manufacturing capabilities are surely a positive sign, questions are being raised about the extent to which their quality can be compared to premium chips manufactured by the likes of Qualcomm and Intel.  

Additionally, critics such as research company Radio Free Mobile argue that as long as the US trade ban is still in place, Huawei’s lack of access to Google technology will make it difficult for their new phones to gain traction in markets outside China. 

Although the news may be a considerable progression for Huawei, whether it could result in them regaining their once dominant position in the global smartphone market remains to be decided. 

How will the tensions between China and the US affect the global telecoms market? Join the discussion at this year’s Connected Britain

Also in the news:
Concerns raised over government transparency relating to Huawei
Huawei’s European future in jeopardy as EU mulls blanket ban
China Mobile Ningbo leads the way in building 5G infrastructure for business growth 

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