Huawei is not the company it was a couple of years ago when it was on its way to becoming the world's largest smartphone manufacturer. Restrictions placed on the firm by the U.S. forced Huawei to sell its Honor sub-brand in order to get Honor out from under the thumb of the U.S. The manufacturer that could have been number one this year is more likely to be number seven by the end of the year.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei says that Apple has the best 5G phones
According to Forbes, Huawei is aware that in one major regard, it is much closer to being like Apple than it is to being like other Android manufacturers in its class such as Samsung and arguably Google. Like Apple, Huawei has more control over both the hardware and software used on its phones. The head of Huawei's U.K. consumer business told Forbes last year that "we are one of only two companies globally that can have this hardware and software solution for our own ecosystem… Only Huawei and Apple can do this—it’s our long-term strategy."
A couple of years ago, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei admitted that he uses an iPhone and even buys them for his family. Ren said in 2019, "iPhone has a good ecosystem and when my family are abroad, I still buy them iPhones, so one can’t narrowly think love for Huawei should mean loving Huawei phones." That same year, the executive said,"Apple is the world's leading company... Apple is my teacher; it is advancing in front of us." When Ren's daughter, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in 2018 under a U.S. warrant for fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud, she had in her possession a MacBook, an iPad, and an iPhone.
Zhengfei says that the 5G iPhone 12 series features the best 5G enabled handsets currently available. He calls them "the world's best" 5G phones and has talked up the quality of the technology found in the 2020 iPhone lineup. He has also used Apple's 5G iPhone models as a way to promote the quality of Huawei's 5G networking equipment; Huawei remains the world's largest supplier of networking equipment. "We support the progress made by Apple's iPhone 12," Ren said, pointing out that the device "has been able to achieve download speeds of 1.82 Gbps, making it the best in the world… We helped build the best 5G networks in many cities around the world: Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Zurich, Geneva, Amsterdam, Vienna, Barcelona, Seoul, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Riyadh… Our networks in Europe top global network performance tests." As the company stated just last week, "Huawei has undertaken hundreds of 5G networks worldwide. According to the results of 5G network experience test in global major cities conducted by many third-party organizations around the world, in cities such as Seoul, Amsterdam, Madrid, Zurich, Hong Kong, and Riyadh, Huawei’s contracted operators ranked number one in 5G network experience."
Ren also complemented Apple's dominance of the high-end premium phone sector and said that Huawei's networking equipment is good for iPhone users. Ren commented that "Many high-end device users in Europe use iPhones, and the way those phones operate on our networks in Europe actually is a sign we are also doing well. The fact high-end users can use the iPhone 12 to its fullest effect on our 5G networks in Europe is a testament to the quality of our networks. This is helping balance opinions towards Huawei in Europe." Zhengfei pointed out last year that "there are only two big players with ecosystems,” he said, “Apple and Google. It will not be a problem to have a third one. In any industry, three top players is reasonable." Huawei has since added its own ecosystem and we could see the company's own HarmonyOS debut on a smartphone with the upcoming P50 line.