Huawei Expects Dramatically Lower Smartphone Sales in 2021

Posted on February 19, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android with 7 Comments

According to a report in Nikkei Asia, Huawei has alerted its suppliers that it will need parts for just 70 million to 80 million smartphones this year. That’s well below the nearly 190 million units it sold in 2020.

The 60 percent-ish drop in smartphone sales follows a 22 percent drop in sales in 2020 and both are caused to ongoing U.S. sanctions against the firm, the publication says. These sanctions prevent Huawei from using Google Android in its phones, and they limit the firm to using 4G/LTE wireless technology instead of newer 5G parts. They also forced Huawei to sell off its Honor brand.

Despite the limitations, Huawei has no plans to stop making Huawei-branded smartphones. The firm says it will continue to invest in its Huawei Mobile Services and research related to that business, while also pursuing separate initiatives around cloud services and AI. Presumably, it’s also hoping that the Biden administration will reverse or at least lessen U.S. sanctions.

Once on track to overtake Samsung as the world’s biggest makers of smartphones, Huawei is still the biggest smartphone seller in China, with 18.9 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2021. But that’s a decline of over 40 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Worse, even that 70 million to 80 million figure for 2021 may be too optimistic: Some suppliers expect the final number to drop to about 50 million units.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Huawei Expects Dramatically Lower Smartphone Sales in 2021”

  1. prebengh

    Wouldn’t the figure be too optimistic instead of too conservative?

  2. Chris_Kez

    I'm going to expose my complete naiveté so bear me with me, but if Huawei's business continues to be significantly harmed by the specter of the Chinese Communist Party, is there a point at which they decide it makes sense to move their operations and transfer their assets to another country? The same goes for TikTok or any other Chinese company. And if you're a Chinese entrepreneur sitting on a multi-million dollar idea, should you be thinking about an exit strategy to safely disentangle yourself from the CCP?

    • darkgrayknight

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      This is probably more difficult than it seems like to those of us not in China. I would expect Jack Ma would be very happy to not have to deal with the CCP.

    • peterc

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      Hi Chris, the solution you outline would be the natural choice that most people from western democracy countries and economies would make. But China isn't a western democracy and its people are actually quite happy under their "system" of rule that emerged post WWII, apart from Hong Kong who were under Briritsh rule/democracy post WWII till recent times.

      In China the state literally invests in everything, including its business entrepreneurs, and its citizens invest in the resultant Chinese business products and services which they buy into and support. Its a symbiotic relationship between the people, business and the state. Extracting the state investment out of Chinese companies is impossible. The State, its business and Citizens are one single entity for them, all working together to improve and better their world for them and their children etc. We might ridicule that, but thats how it is for them.

      The Chinese are a very proud nation, and highly respectful and its citizens have taken huge offence from how the US has, in their view, insulted them, their businesses and the state by their actions. Quite literally Trump, whether he knew it or not, insulted the nations citizens and their national pride in his dealing with Huawei and others. I'm not kidding nor on some political ideological love in, Its just how it is.

      So whilst the US made alot of loud rhetoric about the Chinese state controlling everything its really an expression of annoyance they (the US) cant export their version of (supposed) free market economics into China for its own growth and exploitation purposes. The Chinese state isn't going to change any time soon and their experience of the last 4 years has resulted in the state and its citizens embarking on their new long term plan of "self sufficiency" which will remove the types of obstacles the US/Trump threw at them to try and break them open. All utterly avoidable.

      • jbinaz

        In reply to peterc:
        ...and its people are actually quite happy under their "system" of rule that emerged post WWII...

        I'm not so sure the Uyghurs would say they're quite happy. Or the Christians in China.

        • peterc

          In reply to jbinaz:

          Agreed, but it’s a general post. The same problem can also be pointed to the Tibetan population too. Sadly most countries have such problems of exploitation, including all western countries.

  3. ArvindV

    So the actual sales number of Huawei smartphones for 2021 is 35 million. Even lower that the 70 and 50 million predicted.

    For 2022 my prediction is 15 million