Huawei starts to sell used smartphones, license handset designs amid its struggle with US trade sanctions
- Telecommunications giant Huawei is now offering various refurbished Android smartphone models at its online store Vmall
- Partner TD Tech recently launched presales of its N8 Pro smartphone, which resembled Huawei’s own nova 8 Pro 5G handset
Although the N8 Pro was quickly removed from Vmall after generating interest among consumers online, it showed that Huawei has already initiated efforts to license its handset designs to third-party vendors.
The sale of second-hand devices and the N8 Pro reflect Huawei’s latest tactical moves to expand its revenue sources, while working to stay relevant in the global smartphone market.
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Huawei said it had no comment.
Its move into the refurbished smartphone business is meant to engage Huawei customers, keeping them away from rival Chinese Android handset vendors, according to Nicole Peng, vice-president of mobility at research firm Canalys.
Peng, however, indicated that there are far fewer consumers in China who trade-in their smartphones, compared with those in the US.
Huawei had up to a 27 per cent share in mainland China’s smartphone market at its peak in September last year, but accounted for only 7 to 8 per cent in the third quarter this year, according to Counterpoint Research senior analyst Ivan Lam, who expected that number to further decline this fourth quarter.
While licensing handset designs has the potential of becoming a viable business, that could put Huawei partners like TD Tech at risk of US scrutiny.
“This is still a highly sensitive area,” Counterpoint’s Lam said. “Companies don’t want to be in the spotlight.”