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Customers try Huawei’s computers with the HarmonyOS operating system at a Huawei store in Shanghai, June 3, 2021. Photo: AFP

Huawei wins small battle as its laptops buck downward trend in China’s computer market

  • Huawei’s gains contrasted sharply with the overall PC market in China, which shrank 16 per cent in the quarter, the worst decline since 2013
  • In tablets, Huawei remained No 2 behind Apple with a slight 0.5 per cent growth to 1 million units for the quarter, taking 17.7 per cent market share

Huawei Technologies Co has won a small battle in China’s computer market on the back of a surge in laptop shipments, despite an overall slump in the country’s personal computer (PC) market owing to an economic slowdown.

In the second quarter, Huawei shipped 838,000 PCs, including desktops and notebooks, 80.7 per cent higher than the same period last year, according to a Canalys report on Thursday.

With the surge, Huawei overtook Taiwan brand Asus to move into fourth place behind HP. Lenovo remained the clear leader with 40.2 per cent of the total PC market in China and 4.6 million units shipped in the second quarter, well ahead of No 2 Dell which shipped 1.6 million units, accounting for 14.1 per cent share.

Huawei’s strong laptop sales were helped by its launch of six new models in May.

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In the tablet category, Huawei remained in second place with a slight 0.5 per cent growth to reach 1 million units for the quarter, taking 17.7 per cent of the market behind Apple. Hit hard by production disruptions during the quarter, Apple’s iPad shipments in China fell 19 per cent to 1.4 million units.

The gains by Huawei contrasted sharply with the overall PC market in China, which shrank 16 per cent in the second quarter, the worst decline since 2013, according to Canalys.

“It was a very tough quarter for vendors in China’s PC market,” Canalys analyst Emma Xu noted. “Demand, both commercial and consumer, was hit hard by the strict pandemic control measures implemented across the country. In the commercial space, the biggest decline was among large enterprises.”

Like smartphones, China’s PC market has come under pressure amid weaker demand and a slowing economy. The country’s strict Covid-19 control policies also caused logistics and production disruptions, as areas including Shanghai and the surrounding regional manufacturing hub of the Yangtze River Delta went into lockdowns.

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Huawei was the only major computer vendor to post growth in the second quarter. Market leader Lenovo led the decline with a 17.5 per cent fall.

Xu noted that Huawei’s efforts to push its desktop and notebook products, which require less advanced chips compared to smartphones, have borne fruit after the company’s tried to diversify from its sanction-hit handset business.