Huawei CEO Yu Chendong says that the company's M6 model tablet is its best selling ever but that US sanctions have prevented the company from taking its place at the top of the brand pile. That's according to statements reportedly recently made by the top executive at the Huawei MatePad Pro new product launch.
The CEO claimed that more than 2 million units of that tablet had sold in the first year and it expects the MatePad Pro to follow a similar trend. The former of the two helped push Huawei to the number one spot in the Chinese tablet market. More importantly, the device propelled Huawei to second place in the thin and light "PC" market.
Many of the sales behind those claims weren't in China either. It isn't just patriotic Chinese citizens that are buying, the executive explains. During the first four months of the year, the products continued to sell well globally. And that includes Huawei phones too. The business was previously expected to surpass Samsung, taking the company all the way to number one worldwide.
According to Huawei, both its phones and its thin and light market offerings would have positioned it at the top without US sanctions.
The US sanctions and Huawei controversy
At the heart of Huawei's problem, the company has been on an "entity list" in the US since early 2019. That list precludes that US companies such as Google, Qualcomm, and others can't interact with Huawei or as many as 68 of its non-U.S. affiliates without a special government license. Even then, the trade is limited.
A similar set of bans and actions has followed, off and on, from other regions too. One prime example of that is the rollercoaster of a relationship between the UK's ARM and Huawei.
Summarily, the US labeled Huawei a threat to national security. The country claims that Huawei is or could spy for the Chinese government. Any aid to the company via business would effectively be viewed as an aid to those activities without a license.
The government hasn't been consistent in its enforcement of that ban either, seemingly unable to decide whether to keep the company on the entity list or not. That's led to tumultuous and strained relationships for Huawei and its business partners, especially in terms of hardware and software.
Huawei phones still run Android since that's open-source but no longer ship with Google services, as a result. That includes the Google Play Store, among other apps. It's also been forced to work its engineers around the clock in search of new in-house solutions previously filled by US companies. That in itself has created further controversy, even stirring up some dissension in Huawei's ranks.
The company has fought back against the accusations leveled by the US as well as internally. On the latter front, Huawei recently paid out as much as $286 million to its employees in loyalty bonuses.
Huawei is preparing to continue pushing forward through it all
Mr. Yu Chengdong says that the damage of the sanctions isn't going to deter the company from continuing to press forward. In fact, the CEO claims it will only make Huawei stronger, in the long run, noting that all of its success is in spite of the US bans. Huawei, he indicates, is preparing for the worst-case scenario.
That tactic has worked so far for Huawei, with the company maintaining its position in the market in spite of the bans. While the ban is its biggest obstacle to growth, it's allowed Huawei to branch out its business in other areas. But whether or not Huawei can keep up its ongoing battle for market dominance irrespective of sanctions or at least until those ease remains to be seen.