Huawei may be the second largest smartphone maker in the world (in the first quarter of this year, it beat Apple once again) but its market share is not nearly uniform: while it is among the leading phone brands in China and India, some of the biggest smartphone markets today, its market share in Africa, in general, is under 13%.
In Nigeria, around 12% of all smartphone users read the news, update their social media accounts, play games, and listen to music on a device manufactured by the Shenzen-based telecom giant.
Huawei had a very aggressive growth strategy – I say “had” because recent events have probably made the company to stop and rethink its strategy.
Last weekend, the United States has declared a national emergency on cybersecurity, banning American companies from doing business with Huawei and its subsidiaries.
As a response to this measure, companies like Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and most importantly Google have announced that they are cutting ties with the Chinese telecom giant almost immediately.
This means that Huawei was cut off from important suppliers and, more importantly, it can no longer use Google’s services – think the Play Store, the Play Services, cloud storage, email, and others.
Basically, it can continue to use the open-source part of the Android operating system but its license to use Google’s proprietary services has been revoked.
What does this mean for those with Huawei phones in their pockets? Well, not much – as per Google’s press release, those using Huawei phones and tablets will be able to continue to use them normally. They won’t receive security updates, though, and support from the search giant.
The situation Huawei has found itself in might seem hopeless to some – but not to the Chinese telecom giant that remains optimistic amongst these restrictions.
After all, it has its own SoC (the Kirin line) and it has backup solutions for the chips it usually bought from its US-based partners, it is in the process of launching its own mobile operating system (rumored to be called “Hongmeng”), it has its own cloud storage, and even its own app marketplace called “App Gallery”.
Things always have two sides – the ban on Huawei is no exception. While the measure will certainly hurt the Chinese telecom giant’s bottom line there are many US-based companies that will also be affected by the matter.
On one hand, there are several US states where Huawei’s equipment was used to build wireless and internet infrastructure – maintaining this will be next to impossible without access to the US market. On the other hand, Huawei bought goods and services worth $11 billion a year from the US.
Huawei was hit hard by the restriction imposed by the Trump administration but it doesn’t despair. It remains positive, it assures its users of its ongoing support, and it hopes to continue to grow in the future.