Huawei has disappointed legions of fans – and US officials – eager to learn more about its Mate 60 Pro smartphone, which quickly became a symbol of the technological rivalry between the United States and China since it went on sale last month.
Huawei chief consumer officer Richard Yu showed off a slew of new products, including a tablet, smartwatch, earphones and even a challenge to Tesla (TSLA) Monday, without going into the details of his flagship devicewhich sparked calls in Washington for additional sanctions against the Chinese technology and mobile phone giant.
The United States has spent years trying to hamper Huawei’s ability to access the most advanced semiconductors, and the unveiling of its 5G phone in August surprised Western observers.
The launch event became the most discussed topic on the Chinese social network Weibo, accumulating six billion views and 1.6 million posts. Meanwhile, a hashtag titled “#HuaweiConferenceWithoutMentioningMobilePhones,” was trending on Weibo, with 24.5 million views.
“Are you telling me we won’t talk about the phone?” ” an user wrote on the social network.
“Where is the phone?” said another.
Huawei quietly began selling the Mate 60 Pro in August, without an official launch event or sharing full technical specifications.
Yu said on stage that the company was “working overtime” to urgently produce Mate 60 series devices “to enable more people to purchase and use our products.”
But “today we will not introduce” these devices, he added.
At one point, Huawei whetted viewers’ appetites by unveiling a new premium collection called Ultimate Design, presented by Hong Kong singer and actor Andy Lau.
The range consists of a smartphone and a luxury smartwatch. Few details have been released, although the company said the watch is made from real gold bars, giving it a hefty price tag of 21,999 Chinese yuan ($3,009).
Ben Sin, an independent technology critic, said he was “baffled” as to why Huawei did not discuss its smartphones.
The company “knows that everyone wants to know more about the chip (in the Mate 60 Pro), so not talking about it is almost like a challenge,” he said.
Analysts who reviewed the phone said it included a 5G chip, suggesting Huawei may have found a way around U.S. export controls.
Huawei, formerly the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, is attempting a comeback in China’s smartphone market after being hit by U.S. export restrictions, first imposed in 2019.
The company’s misfortunes then forced it to liquidate its budget mobile brand, Honor, leaving it in poor condition.
Andrea Verdelli/Bloomberg/Getty Images
A Huawei store in Beijing on September 22, 2023
But he’s starting to find his way back.
The company’s smartphone sales increased 58% in China in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year. according to Search for counterpoint. Its share of the Chinese market increased from 6.9% to 11.3% over this period.
Ivan Lam, senior analyst at Counterpoint, said Huawei had benefited from “high brand exposure among” wealthy Chinese consumers. For this reason, Huawei’s market share in China is expected to grow further in 2024, he added.
Huawei’s new phone is a boon for the company and could even pose a challenge for Apple (AAPL) market share in China, Lam said.
The Shenzhen-based company recently experienced a “surge in sales” of its Mate 60 series, with weekly sales nearly tripling to 225,000 units, according to Counterpoint.
Yu showed off a number of other new products, starting with the latest version of its MatePad Pro, describing it as the lightest and thinnest tablet of its type in the world. He said the device has been in development for 10 years.
Additionally, the company unveiled a new smart TV, wireless headphones, and other gadgets.
Huawei also took an aggressive swipe at Tesla, saying it would launch its first sedan, the Luxeed S7, in November. The car will outperform Tesla’s Model S “in all specifications,” Yu said.
Yu also announced that Huawei is “ready to launch” an updated operating system, HarmonyOS NEXT.
The system will include “native applications,” Yu said, without elaborating.
Speculation has been growing that Huawei might create an operating system that would not be compatible with any Android apps.
Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.