Huawei's smartphone business may be faltering, but the company is witnessing tremendous growth in the wearables sector. Richard Yu, CEO at Huawei's consumer business group, recently revealed that the company has maintained a growth rate of over 100 percent in wearable product shipments for two consecutive years.
The wearables market as a whole is growing rapidly too. The latest data from research firm IDC suggests the global wearable market to have grown 89 percent year-on-year (YoY) in 2019. The shipment volume reached 336.5 million units last year, up from 178 million units in 2018.
While IDC estimates Huawei's shipment volume to have grown about 149 percent in 2019, Yu says the company's growth for the year is more than 170 percent. Either way, Huawei is rapidly evolving as a top player in the wearables market.
The smartphone side of Huawei's business, meanwhile, is in a grave situation following the US sanctions. The company is fearing an unprecedented decline this year, so much so that "survival" will be its top priority. Huawei was recently granted a fifth license extension, allowing it to work with American businesses through May 15th.
If not for the US ban, the Chinese giant would have been challenging Samsung for the title of the world's largest smartphone vendor. The company is currently looking to circumvent the ban by becoming self-sufficient.
Huawei gets a boost from the wearables sector
Huawei's investment in wearable products has been increasing in recent years. The company has developed and launched its own chipset for wearable devices. The in-house Kirin A1 chipset can be found inside the likes of Huawei Watch GT2 and Freebuds 3 wireless earbuds.
Much like the scenario in the global market, a good amount of Huawei's growth in the wearable business comes from the hearables category. Hearable devices made up more than 55 percent of the entire wearables market in Q4 2019 globally. The Freebuds 3 wireless earbuds are getting a lot of traction in the market.
Going forward, Huawei plans to expand the use of its in-house chipsets to more devices and product categories. The Kirin A1 chip supports both wireless audio devices and smartwatches. It is the world's first Bluetooth 5.1 and Bluetooth Low Energy dual-mode 5.1 chip.
It features dual-channel transmission technology, which enables headphones to directly obtain the left and right channel signals from the mobile phone with minimum latency. Huawei also promises 30 percent lesser power consumption than the competition.
Huawei is also looking to develop its wearables ecosystem for fitness enthusiasts. It's Huawei Health app has exceeded 100 million registered users worldwide.