Orders put into the smartphone component supply chain indicate Huawei going to make a lot fewer devices this year due to US sanctions.
The insight comes courtesy of Nikkei Asia, which has been chatting to people in the supply chain. They apparently told it that Huawei has put in orders for 70-80 million smartphones this year, after shifting 187.7 million in 2020, which could amount to a 62% year-on-year decline. Huawei’s 2020 total itself represented a 22% decline, albeit in an overall market that was down 10%.
It’s not at all surprising that Huawei is expecting a rubbish year for its smartphone business, given the US embargo in its purchasing of key components, especially chips, and access to Google’s mobile ecosystem. Even shifting 80 million under those circumstances would be remarkable, although we assume the vast majority of those would be within China. It should also be noted that these figures no longer include Honor branded phones.
So long as the US restrictions remain in place the decline of Huawei’s smartphone business seems certain to continue. Even loyal Chinese punters will surely balk at buying a phone with substandard components and a defeatured version of Android. Huawei is likely to be most compromised in the higher tiers, so most of those 70-80 million devices shipped will probably sell for a couple of hundred dollars at most.
Still, all is not lost. The BBC reports that Huawei has its eye on the pig farming game. It doesn’t intend to literally farm the pigs, although it could do worse because China is apparently home to half of the global population. Instead it’s going to provide the farmers with all kinds of clever IoT and AI tech to make there operations more efficient. There’s even a relatively benign use for facial recognition technology in this context. Who knew?