Huawei warns American consumers about warranty issues after decision to withhold new flagship smartphones from US market
- Chinese firm warns that consumers who purchase the phones from online US retail sites may encounter warranty and after sales service issues
- Huawei’s decision follows a slew of setbacks it experienced in the world’s largest economy this year
China’s leading smartphone vendor Huawei Technologies said it will not sell its latest flagship Mate 20 mobile phone models in the US, warning that consumers who purchase the handsets from online US retail sites may encounter warranty and after-sales service issues.
“We are not planning to sell the Mate 20 Series in the US,” Huawei said on Tuesday, a week after its London launch of four high-end models under its flagship Mate 20 series.
“While international variants of the Mate 20 Series may be available on some US online retail sites, we encourage individuals to carefully read the details about the warranty and network compatibility before purchasing,” Huawei said in the statement.
Huawei’s decision follows a slew of setbacks it experienced in the world’s largest economy this year, including a last minute setback in the planned US launch of its previous Mate series, after it was accused of ties to the Chinese government amid a deterioration in political and trade relations between the world’s two largest economies.
Security concerns were widely reported to have prompted AT&T to walk away from a smartphone distribution deal with Huawei ahead of the Chinese firm’s launch of its Mate 10 Pro handset at the CES trade show in Las Vegas in January. Later it was reported that Verizon Communications also abandoned plans to distribute Huawei’s smartphones in the US.
Several US electronics retailers including Best Buy, which had been selling unlocked Huawei phones, ceased sales of smartphones from the Chinese company following the decision by US carriers. In May, the Pentagon also ordered retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE phones.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier and a top-three global smartphone brand, in late August appealed to the US Federal Trade Commission for a hearing into its restricted business opportunities, saying it has been unfairly targeted by the US government over national security concerns.
Competition in the US telecoms market has not been fully open for a long time, and Huawei, along with other foreign entities, have faced and continue to face regulatory intervention that has inhibited their ability to compete on merit, the Shenzhen-based company claimed in the filing. The company also said its difficulty in selling phones in the US was an example of how US national security had been used as an excuse to restrict the company from competing in the market.
The new Mate smartphones introduced last week run on the company’s own Kirin 980 chip, which incorporates artificial intelligence technology. The top end models outstrip Apple’s iPhones in terms of AI processing, camera quality and battery life, Huawei’s mobile chief Richard Yu Chengdong said at the product launch.
Huawei surpassed Apple in global smartphone shipments in the second quarter of this year. It is on track to ship 200 million handsets to both domestic and global markets this year, which would put it in second place behind perennial industry leader Samsung Electronics.
Huawei, however, may slip back to third place in the latest quarter as Apple shipments were expected to receive a boost from its new iPhone models.