Huawei ‘monitoring the situation’ as impact of US trade dispute spills over to the handset market

Chinese telecom company Huawei found itself in the thick of controversy over the weekend after the company was placed on a trade blacklist by the US government last week. Being on the blacklist prevents Huawei from accessing service and supplies from American companies.

While the ban has been delayed by 90 days, if back in full force, it could materially affect Huawei’s access to American hardware and software including Google products like Gmail, Maps etc, according to media reports.

The strictures against Huawei come at a time when, according to a quarterly report from market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Huawei continued to be the number two bestselling smartphone in the world, having overtaken Apple. In the report launched on April 30,  IDC’s program vice president for its worldwide mobile device tracker Ryan Reith said: “The overall smartphone market continues to be challenged in almost all areas, yet Huawei was able to grow shipments by 50%, not only signifying a clear number two in terms of market share but also closing the gap on the market leader Samsung.

“This new ranking of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple is very likely what we’ll see when 2019 is all said and done.”

The strictures from the American government have cast a pall over that possibility.

Huawei manufactures telecom infrastructure as well as more consumer facing products like handsets and personal computers. It has been extensively lobbied against by the United States which has tried convincing several countries around the world to not incorporate Huawei technology, as they prepare to roll out their 5G telecom networks.

The discomfort with Huawei stems from the company’s allegedly closeness to the Chinese government, as well as allegations of corporate espionage.

Imposed over the weekend, the implications of a potential ban saw panic set in, especially among the users of popular handsets from the company like the P20 and the recently launched P30 series.

A tweet from the official Android account only spoke of how services from Google Play and security offered via Google Play Protect will keep functioning.

The reprieve announced by the US Commerce department will last till August 19 and allow Huawei to provide software support to its existing handsets.

In response to a query from Mumbrella, a Huawei spokesperson said: “We are currently monitoring the situation closely. Do note that Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.”


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