Britain’s ban on Huawei threatens to further damage its ties with China and could be costly for UK mobile providers that have relied on the telecom giant’s equipment for nearly 20 years. Photo: Handout.

The United States and other Five Eyes nations have sought to halt Huawei’s global expansion, but it appears the embattled Chinese company continues to defy sanctions and two years of market contraction, Caixin Global reported.

With a global market share of 16%, or 238 million units shipped, the Chinese firm outperformed Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone seller in 2019, according to a report by industry research firm Counterpoint.

The report attributed Huawei’s global growth to its robust performance at home, where it grew its market share to a record 40%. Phones shipped in China accounted for more than 60% of Huawei’s total for the year, according to the report.

Counterpoint also predicted that it will be almost impossible for Huawei’s own operating system, which it may use after being banned from doing business with Android creator Google, to compete against Android anywhere outside of China, Caixin reported.

In a bid to mitigate fallout from its US blacklisting, Huawei plans to equip more of its handsets with its own Harmony operating system and self-developed chips.

The tech giant is also encouraging global developers to integrate their apps into Huawei Mobile Services, an alternative to Google Mobile Services, after being stripped of access to licensed Android updates in May, Caixin reported.

The first place for smartphone sellers went to Samsung, which shipped 296 million units last year. Huawei’s Chinese peer Xiaomi claimed the fourth spot, with 124 million smartphones shipped in 2019.

Adding to Apple’s woes, a Los Angeles jury on Wednesday ordered the US technology giant and Broadcom to pay US$1.1 billion to a university in California for infringing on four Wi-Fi technology patents, CNA online reported.

Apple was ordered to pay US$837 million and Broadcom must pay US$270 million to the California Institute of Technology, the report said.

Caltech, as the university located near Los Angeles is known, had sued both tech giants in 2016, alleging that Apple products including iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches used Broadcom components that infringed on Caltech patents related to wireless data transmissions, the report said.

Both Apple and Broadcom indicated they planned to appeal the verdict.

Meanwhile, US leaders and intelligence experts expressed dismay at the British government’s announcement that it would only restrict — not forbid — the use of “high-risk vendors” — preeminently China’s Huawei — in the nation’s networks, BreakingDefense reported.

The battle is certain to continue, with the UK under pressure from both the US and China and with detailed legislation yet to come before Parliament, the report said.

“The United Kingdom’s decision to put short-term economic interests above the long-term security considerations for an entire alliance is highly disappointing and sends exactly the wrong signals to the world at exactly the wrong time,” said Andy Keiser, a former Trump transition staffer and veteran House intelligence staffer.

“I expect the effort to compel London to change its mind as part of a bilateral trade negotiation with the United States begins today.”

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