Huawei Technologies, China’s largest smartphone vendor, said it crossed the 100 million benchmark in smartphone shipments by the end of May, the fastest pace ever for the company, though a US ban on key technologies announced in mid-May had yet to kick in. Shenzhen-based Huawei shipped 100 million handsets under the Huawei and Honor brands both domestically and abroad up to May 30, a milestone it did not achieve until July last year and September in 2017, the company said this week. Huawei’s high end P30 series, the flagship model announced at an event in Paris in late March, achieved unit sales of 10 million 85 days after hitting the shelves, two full months faster than the P20 series launched a year earlier, the company said. However, Huawei executives were preparing for a 40 million to 60 million drop in international smartphone shipments this year, Bloomberg said in a report this month, after Huawei was put on the US Entity List last month, effectively banning it from doing business with the US and cutting off its access to key US technologies, including semiconductors and software. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei told CNBC last week that its smartphone business outside China is “recovering rapidly” despite the fact that its phones could lose access to Google services. Fall in Huawei smartphone sales overseas now ‘less than 20 per cent’ Ren’s latest statement was a shift from his earlier remarks that indicated the company had seen a record 40 per cent decline in overseas markets since the ban. “[Our overseas consumer business] is now bouncing back, and its decline outside China is less than 20 per cent,” Ren told CNBC. “It is recovering rapidly,” he said, adding that Huawei’s China business has not been impacted negatively, and he does not expect the firm’s overall consumer business to experience a “huge decline” this year. Huawei’s Mate20 X series phones received the first licence to access China’s 5G network, the company announced this week. The 5G versions of the Mate20 X are expected to become the first devices supporting the next-generation network to hit the Chinese market, and will support both stand-alone (SA) and non-stand-alone (NSA) 5G networks. However, the Chinese company has delayed the launch of its highly anticipated foldable handset, the Mate X, from June to September, after the failed launch of Samsung’s foldable device, the Galaxy Fold, which encountered serious screen faults during tests done before its official launch. Huawei’s self-developed OS is also expected to hit the market as soon as this fall, and no later than spring next year, its mobile chief Richard Yu Chengdong said in a WeChat group discussion earlier this year. A screenshot of the conversation has been widely circulated by Chinese media, but Huawei has declined to verify the information.