Huawei is on track to outstrip Samsung to become the world’s biggest-selling smartphone brand by the end of this year. The Chinese tech behemoth said last week that it would tap into its bourgeoning consumer business to sustain growth.
Huawei’s snappy smartphones and laptops, which offer distinct value for money, have poached discerning buyers from Apple and Samsung, helping the Chinese company remain confident despite the US-led blanket ban on its business-to-business telecommunications gear, which has seen revenues from wireless and base station equipment go flat.
Huawei, which already generates two-thirds of revenues from smartphones, aims to see consumer electronics sales soar to US$100 billion within three years and to US$150 billion by 2025, Yu Chengdong, from the Consumer Business Group of the Shenzhen-based firm, told reporters at a product launch event in Shanghai last week. He added that those lofty goals and estimated sales are actually on the conservative side even though Huawei smartphones and other products were not available in the US due to “nonmarket factors”.
Its revenue from business other than telecoms gear soared 45% year-on-year to US$52.5 billion in 2018, during which it shipped over 200 million smartphones worldwide. In its home market, one out of every three smartphones sold last year carried the Huawei brand.
Analysts say when the global smartphone market is peaking out, Huawei is hiking the average price of its gadgets and doubling down on the premium segment to further boost revenue.
For instance, the P30 Pro, Huawei’s new super-spec phone unveiled last week, has drawn praise from tech nerds and even Apple fans, with its quad-camera system and periscope telephoto lens co-developed with Leica that can zoom in up to an eye-popping 50 times and shoot crisp images even in near darkness, on the strength of its extreme ISO settings and a new sensor that significantly boosts light absorption.
Other draw cards that are missing in the specifications of Apple’s topline iPhone include the world’s first 7nm mobile chipset, reverse wireless charging, an in-screen fingerprint sensor as well as the novel acoustic display technology to do away with a speaker that eats into your display: instead, electromagnetic sound levitation will project sound from the vibrations in the display to your ear.
In February, Huawei also announced a foldable, 5G-ready phone-tablet hybrid model at this year’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, at a time when Apple remains locked in a bitter legal row with Qualcomm and has nowhere else to go to source 5G chips for its next generation of iPhones, Huawei is said to have offered the American rival its own 5G modems.