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Huawei will regain smartphone “throne” says chairman

It’s no secret that things haven’t exactly been rosey for Huawei since then-President Donald Trump accused the company of being a threat to national security and barred it from working with US companies.

While such a move couldn’t prevent Huawei from using the open-source version of Android, its phones and tablets could no longer ship with Google-made apps including Gmail, YouTube and the Play Store itself. As a result, Huawei handsets have been increasingly hard to recommend in the UK, and the company has accelerated use of its own Harmony OS, as well as selling off its Honor sub brand to fight on.

It’s been a bruising few years, in other words, but Huawei’s chairman Guo Ping struck a bullish tone in a recent FAQ with staff, a transcript of which was seen by CNBC.

“The biggest difficulty for us at present is on mobile phones,” Guo reportedly said. “We know that [to produce] phones with small size and low power consumption requires advanced technology. Huawei can do the design, but no one is able to help us to produce. We are stuck.

“Huawei will keep its existence in [the] mobile phone sector. I expect that as the capability in chip manufacturing increases, [Huawei] will return to the smartphone throne.”

“I hope the day when China is able to make chips can come sooner. Until that day, the sector will exist, and we will try to retain and develop our technologies, to make sure we are able to make competitive phones,” Guo added.

Although the translations vary, Reuters has a similar reading of the transcript – including use of the word “throne.”

Huawei will be hoping that it has reached its low ebb and the only way is back up again. As recently as 2019, the company was the second biggest phone manufacturer in the world, ahead of Apple and just behind Samsung. 

Now the most recent figures from Gartner show it out of the top five, and stuck with the also-rans in the “others” category. Huawei has been leapfrogged by other Chinese brands that have managed to avoid the Android restrictions, with Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo snapping up a third of the global market share between them.

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