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Smartphone with a Huawei logo is seen in front of a US flag in this illustration taken September 28, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Huawei, banned from the US, teases consumers with Black Friday 100 per cent discount offer

  • After the Twitter post drew thousands of likes, Huawei USA said it was ‘just a joke’ because ‘we can’t sell anything in the USA’
  • Huawei reported a 32 per cent slump in sales for the first nine months of 2021, deepening a 29.4 per cent decline in the first half

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co has teased American consumers with a “100 per cent off” Black Friday discount on its phones in the US, a market it is banned from selling into.

“Black Friday special! 100% OFF all phones we currently sell in the US,” the US branch of the Shenzhen-based company said in a post on Twitter, the social media platform banned in China.

After the “offer” won thousands of likes, Huawei USA said on its account, which has nearly 142,000 followers, that the offer was “just a joke” because “we can’t sell anything in the USA”, adding three Loudly Crying Face emoji.

In May 2019, the US added Huawei to a trade blacklist over the company’s alleged ties to Beijing, which were seen as a national security threat. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Huawei, which briefly overtook Samsung Electronics as the world’s largest smartphone maker in 2020, has seen the collapse of the business after US sanctions denied it access to advanced chips.

A Canadian ban on Huawei 5G may come with whimper, not a bang

As an alternative, the company has started to sell refurbished phones, and in the latest move licensed its smartphone technology to obscure third parties.

The US began to target Huawei as early as 2012, when its US executives were subject to questioning during a congressional hearing on cybersecurity risk. In 2018, the company failed to finalise a deal with US carrier AT&T to sell its flagship phones to American consumers, a big setback in its efforts to crack the US market.

A year later, the Chinese company was added to the US Entity List, a move that denied it access to US-origin technologies like semiconductors.

Earlier, Huawei had been effectively banned from US telecoms networks by an executive order from then US president Donald Trump, whose successor Joe Biden earlier this month signed a law to prevent companies like Huawei from receiving new equipment licenses from US regulators.
Huawei’s rotating chairman Eric Xu said in September that US sanctions were causing at least US$30 billion in annual losses to its smartphone business, but that the company has learned to live with it.
Still a private company, Huawei reported a 32 per cent slump in sales for the first nine months of 2021, deepening a 29.4 per cent decline in the first half.

Huawei’s Twitter post got 2,900 retweets and 9,500 likes as of Wednesday.

In one comment, user Jason Reynoldz said, “Stop stealing trade secrets from every company in the world.”

“Let us know when Google, Facebook, and other companies can freely operate in China, then will get you back,” said another user named Gustavo Litovsky.