Just as Huawei was gaining traction in the smartphone race against Samsung, it has suddenly fallen back. Huawei is the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, but experts have reason to believe that rank is soon to be challenged.
Because of Google’s restriction of software and hardware deals with Huawei, consumers outside China might opt for rival brands such as Samsung, Xiaomi, and Oppo.
Following the Trump administration’s blacklist of the Shenzhen-based tech giant, Google suspended apps and services for future Huawei devices. Users can no longer receive important updates on their Huawei devices or even access the ubiquitous Google apps such as Gmail, Google Drive, and YouTube.
In 2018, around half of Huawei’s 208 million smartphones were shipped to overseas markets. Huawei leads the smartphone market in nine European countries, but is still second to Samsung overall in the region. Because of the Google ban, overseas consumers are more than likely to reconsider buying other smartphone brands.
“European users have been used to Google’s mobile services for years. Huawei smartphones are not attractive enough for European users to persuade them to give up those services,” said Chiu Shih-fang, analyst at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research as reported by the Nikkei Asian Review.
Experts predict that Samsung would gain most from Huawei’s slump, since the South Korean tech company is still the leading Android device in Europe.
The decision also gives other Chinese smartphones such as Xiaomi and Oppo a competitive advantage in the market. Xiaomi was the fourth top smartphone maker in Europe in 2018 and is already gaining popularity in the region.
Experts also argue that the US may also suffer from the Google trade ban with Huawei.
“Huawei is the second-largest Android player and a major client, so if they cannot sell anything to Huawei any more, Google will suffer from that,” said Francisco Jeronimo, associate vice-president for European devices at IDC in a report by the South China Morning Post.
In response to the US 90-day restriction, Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei announced that the company is already prepared for a permanent ban. “We will not exclude or reject U.S. chips lightly. We all need to grow together. But if there are supply difficulties, we have backups,” Ren stated.
Consumers are already thinking twice, if not entirely regretting their Huawei purchase, and are now opting for alternative Android devices./TISG
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