Huawei is headed for a big decline in smartphone shipments, but China could keep it afloat

Huawei is headed for a big decline in smartphone shipments, but China could keep it afloat
Huawei was doing an incredible job of defying mobile industry trends when national security concerns prompted President Trump to put an end to the Chinese tech giant's business ties with American companies and even foreign enterprises using "US original technology."

While it remains impossible to predict how the China - US trade war will evolve in the coming months and how catastrophic a damage it might cause for Huawei's thriving smartphone division both in the short and long run, one thing seems crystal clear. The company's sales numbers are bound to suffer. In fact, they're already down across European and Asian regions, according to multiple recent reports. 

A new one boldly tackles full-year forecasts, which are extremely difficult to put together right now for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, Fubon Research and Strategy Analytics experts feel relatively confident in their predictions of a shipment decline of between 4 and 24 percent in 2019 compared to 2018. Those are not exactly firm projections, naturally depending on future developments of a currently suspended ban.

If Huawei ends up losing access to Google apps, services, and the Android operating system as a whole, next year could see the brand totally "wiped out of the Western European smartphone market" the company has fought so hard to conquer these past few years. As a direct consequence of that potential "wipeout", Strategy Analytics expects shipments to drop another 23 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

A similarly bleak Fubon Research forecast downgrades Huawei's 2019 numbers from a previous expectation of 258 million unit sales to around 200 million in a "worst-case scenario." Of course, that's still a lot of phones and it would probably be enough to keep the embattled company among the world's top three vendors. In fact, even if Huawei loses Google and Qualcomm's support for good, its mobile business could easily survive on the "sheer size of the China market." Then again, it remains unclear how Huawei could continue making smartphone processors without ARM. 

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20 Comments

1. OneLove123

Posts: 841; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Imagine if Asia can somehow come out with an OS for that Continent? They would hurt Google and Apple and the U.S. economy so bad. Asia is so big from East Turkey to big diomede, Russia. They would not need Google or Apple with 4.5billion people there.

3. User123456789

Posts: 550; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Yeah, the other chinese will sacrifice sales out of China to make new OS that wont have G apps. Microsoft is much bigger than these companies and failed poorly.

5. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2291; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Oppo, Xiaomi, and Vivo which have not been cut off from Google, Qualcomm, or ARM will probably not be inclined to abandon any of those companies and start from scratch. That’s why I disagree with these articles that somehow suggest Huawei will hold on to their Chinese market when Oppo and Vivo could easily take over.

17. raky_b

Posts: 369; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

But, don't you think that this move from Trump did scare all other Chinese companies, that they could be next....and that they could join strengths to avoid that possibility totally. If they would do that, in 2 years, we would have 3rd option and Google would be down to that third place by share.

19. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2291; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

They could try but then they would have to play years of catch up to get the same amount of apps. Also apps that are developed in the U.S. that are used all over the world like WhatsApp would be blocked.

8. eausa

Posts: 76; Member since: Feb 28, 2019

No, just no. I'm sick of the chinese corner cutting mentality. That's why with the most people on earth, it's still a 3rd world country for the most part. I hope we teach these commies a lesson. Stop effin stealing everything china.

20. vikingsfootball09

Posts: 111; Member since: Oct 02, 2013

alot of powerful third world countries to boot...military,tech, and brains too....and u think the u.s. government and apple arent stealing too?

9. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Yes there is a possibility of coming up with a new OS. But the chances of success are very low. Besides, what Huawei will do about chips? How it will come out with it? No chance in near future. Dirty politics of US has done a huge damage to innovation. Huawei is the one pushing envelope in phone cameras. Which forced others to follow suit. Imagine if Huawei has not made p20 pro and mate 20 pro with triple cameras, then other companies might not be releasing triple camera setups as well. Credit goes to Huawei for kick starting the trend. I do support US on putting tariff on goods coming from china. It is their right. There should be at least 15% import tax on all items coming from china. But the way US is playing dirty politics and targeting one particular company is heinous. If Huawei is a security threat then same goes to Cisco and any other networking equipment manufacturer. Cisco is also a big security threat for us as a none US citizens. Huawei is a lot safer for us. At least china is not known to have a habit of spying on everyone. I think there is no difference between Trump and Hitler. Both have similar arrogant attitude.

11. oldskool50

Posts: 711; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

They have an OS option. They can use ASOP Android and just use their skin to bring features. You don't need access to Google Services as their are workable alternatives.

16. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

China has its own Facebook, WhatsApp and Google; have you heard about anyone outside China, using WeChat over WhatsApp or baiduing instead of googling? China needs a democratic government before even thinking about conquering the tech world.

2. User123456789

Posts: 550; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

They have about 70-80% of sales in China. They can survive well selling just there.

4. djcody

Posts: 219; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

Survive not develop or expand. They people are very poor compared to west Europe or USA. They can't buy new phone every year. They have bigger priorities then gadgets

6. User123456789

Posts: 550; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Most of the sales are Honor devices. They have option to lower prices to gain market in China from other brands.

7. guest

Posts: 370; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Or China can stop dicking around and just make peace on trade.

12. oldskool50

Posts: 711; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

China isn't the problem in this war.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

China aren't the ones "dicking around." Our four year old mentality president is.

10. Feanor

Posts: 1315; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

"Fubon Research and Strategy Analytics experts feel relatively confident in their predictions of a shipment decline of between 4 and 24 percent in 2019 compared to 2018" Between 4 and 24 percent I wouldn't call it "relative confidence", I would call it "throwing around random numbers". More often than not I'm feeling that these analysts sell predictions that even my cat could do.

13. Solarius

Posts: 6; Member since: May 24, 2019

and Apple that it is sales forecasts between 5 and 50% decline

15. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I'm predicting between a 0% and %100 drop in sales for Huawei if the ban sticks. I just became an analyst!

18. raky_b

Posts: 369; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

And by my expertise, I am pretty confident that you are absolutely right.

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