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Huawei

Huawei on track for record smartphone shipments in 2018, defying outlook worries amid CFO arrest

  • Global shipments of Huawei’s two smartphone brands, Huawei and Honor, expected to reach 200 million by December 25
PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2018, 7:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 2:15pm

China’s leading smartphone brand Huawei Technologies said it is on target to ship 200 million smartphone units in 2018 thanks to rapid growth in the past three quarters even as speculation swirls that the detention of its CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou might cloud its business outlook for the coming year.

The combined global shipments of Huawei’s two smartphone brands, Huawei and Honor, are expected to reach 200 million by December 25, the president of Huawei’s smartphone division He Gang said on Monday.

The company will release a special edition handset on the same day to mark the 200 million milestone, according to Huawei’s official Sina Weibo account.

Huawei, which surpassed Apple in both the second and third quarter this year to become the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor behind South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, has seen explosive growth in its smartphone division which is now approaching the revenue contribution seen from its core telecoms equipment business, according to its 2017 annual report released in March.

How Huawei CFO’s arrest reopens old wound in China-US ties

In the third quarter of 2018, Huawei’s global mobile phone shipments surged 32.9 per cent from the same period last year, ranking second globally with shipments of 52 million units, according to IDC. Samsung and Apple rank first and third with shipments of 72.2 million and 46.9 million respectively. Apple’s quarterly number was down 13.4 per cent year on year while Samsung managed a tepid 0.5 per cent year on year expansion during the three-month period.

Huawei’s shipments of 200 million for 2018 represent at least 30 per cent year on year growth, as the Shenzhen-based company shipped 153.1 million units last year, IDC said in a report earlier. It also corresponds with an estimation from the company in July when it broke the 100 million benchmark – the fastest pace of shipments Huawei has seen in years – when it had forecast the 200 million target for the full year.

The milestone comes at a time when the company is under a cloud following the arrest of its CFO for alleged bank fraud in relation to breaching US sanctions on Iran. Meng, who was granted bail after being detained by Canadian authorities at the request of the US government, has become the subject of a political storm after US president Donald Trump said he might intervene in the case if it would pave the way for a trade deal with China.

How the Huawei case is impacting US and China tech

The saga has contributed to an unprecedented boost in Huawei’s domestic phones sales as mainland Chinese consumers and several Chinese companies stepped up to voice support for local brands, especially Huawei smartphones, citing unfair treatment of the company and its CFO by the West.

Last week, Shenzhen-based LCD display maker Menpad, also one of Huawei’s suppliers, said it would punish any employee who buys an Apple iPhone, a popular brand in China, by fining them an amount equivalent to its market price, while it would reward staff who buy Huawei or rival Chinese brane ZTE phones by giving them a 15 per cent subsidy.

Shennong Mountain, a famous tourist spot in China’s Henan province, said in a statement posted on Weibo on December 15 that it would give free entry to Huawei and Honor phone users between Dec 16 and Dec 29 to show its support for the Chinese company.