Huawei vows to return to the smartphone ‘throne’ regardless of U.S. sanctions

People wait to enter a Huawei flagship store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2021. Huawei launched P50 series smartphones in July.

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GUANGZHOU, China – A Huawei executive said the Chinese tech giant will return to the “throne” of the smartphone industry even if the company continues to suffer the consequences of US sanctions.

Under the administration of former US President Donald Trump, Huawei was labeled a national security threat, blacklisted and cut off from key technologies, namely advanced semiconductors, which are needed for its smartphones.

Revenue in Huawei’s consumer division slumped 47% year over year in the first half of 2021. The company was once No. 1 in the smartphone market, but has since dropped out of the top 5.

“The biggest difficulty for us at the moment is the cell phone. We know this [to produce] Small size and low power consumption phones require advanced technology. Huawei can do the design, but no one can help us with production. We’re stuck, “Huawei chairman Guo Ping said in a question-and-answer session with staff, according to a transcript viewed by CNBC.

One of Huawei’s biggest problems is that Chinese chipmakers are unable to produce the cutting-edge semiconductors that the Shenzhen-headquartered company needs.

However, Guo said Huawei will not leave the smartphone business. Instead, it will work with partners to improve their technology, which in turn will benefit Huawei as it could gain access to Chinese-made silicon.

“Huawei will continue to exist in the cellular sector,” said Guo. “I assume that as chip manufacturing capacity increases, [Huawei] will return to the smartphone throne. “

“I hope the day China can make chips comes sooner. By that day the sector will exist and we will try to keep and develop our technologies to ensure we are able to make competitive phones, ”added Guo.

Last year, Huawei sold its budget smartphone brand called Honor to keep the business alive.

Huawei has shifted its focus to areas like software and cloud computing as the smartphone business continues to face headwinds.

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