Published: 11:04, April 19, 2024
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Huawei's new smartphone series seen as key to revival
By Ma Si
Customers try smartphones in the Pura 70 series at a Huawei retail store in Shanghai on April 18, 2024. (WANG GANG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Huawei Technologies Co officially launched on Thursday the sales of its much-anticipated Pura 70 smartphone series, which is widely seen as key to further reviving its smartphone business in China despite lingering technological restrictions by the United States.

The latest smartphone series showcases Huawei's technological strength and resilience amid mounting pressure, and it could have a sales boom similar to that of Huawei's Mate 60 series unveiled last year, if production capacity can be guaranteed, experts said.

With a minimum price of 5,499 yuan ($760), the Pura 70 series is equipped with Huawei's self-developed HarmonyOS 4.2 operating system and its in-house large language model to support more artificial intelligence functions, such as automatically deleting unwanted objects in photos, according to Huawei.

Consumers nationwide waited in long lines on Thursday outside Huawei's retail stores to buy phones in the Pura 70 series.

Huawei said on Thursday that the new phones were sold out on several online platforms, although it did not disclose how many were available for sale on that day.

Ma Min, an IT programmer who waited outside a Huawei store in Shanghai, said: "I failed to buy a Huawei Mate 60 series smartphone because these always seemed to be in short supply. I really want to be among the first to buy a phone in the Pura 70 series, which is one of the two most iconic flagship smartphone series from Huawei."

Shares of Chinese companies related to Huawei's smartphone supply chains surged on Thursday. For example, Suzhou Anjie Technology Co, which provides sophisticated components for Huawei, saw its shares rise by the daily maximum limit of 10 percent on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at Tianfeng International Securities, said that the Pura 70 series, featuring upgraded camera specifications and other innovations, is expected to see more significant sales growth this year than the P60 series in 2023.

If demand is strong, the total shipments of Pura 70 smartphones from factories to retailers are expected to reach 13 million to 15 million units. Even if demand slows, total shipments are also expected to reach 10 million to 12 million units, Kuo said.

In the first six weeks of 2024, Huawei ranked fifth in terms of smartphone sales in China, with its year-on-year growth rate reaching 64 percent, chiefly driven by the continuing popularity of the Mate 60 series unveiled in September, according to a report from market research company Counterpoint Research.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, said, "It was through arduous efforts that Huawei managed to revive its smartphone business, which was once crippled by the US government's restrictions."

"Huawei's comeback in the Chinese smartphone market coincides with good timing, as AI smartphones are expected to trigger a new round of growth," Xiang said.

Huawei will eat into Apple's market share in China and also weigh down on its domestic peers, especially Honor Device Co, a Huawei spinoff formed four years ago that is now independent, he added.