Research analysis
Huawei smartphone shipments to continue to be undermined by US trade ban in 2020, says Digitimes Research
Luke Lin, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

Huawei's smartphone business is likely to continue to be affected by the US trade ban in 2020 and beyond, and the performance of global shipments of 5G phones and foldable devices will vary in 2020, according to Digitimes Research.

Huawei's de-Americanization campaign to mitigate the impact of the US trade ban has made some progress in terms of use of RF components for its smartphones, but the vendor still relies heavily on US-based vendors for the supply of key optical components such as VCSEL devices.

Huawei has also apparently failed to reach self-sufficiency as far as Google's GMS (Google Mobile Service), ARM's CPU architecture and supplies of EDA (electronic design automation) tools are concerned.

Huawei will continue to suffer from the adverse impacts or see its competitiveness further weaken in 2020 and beyond if the US trade ban continues to deny its access to Google's GMS service, ARM's CPU IP products and other EDA tools, or if it tries to force its de-Americanization efforts beyond reasonable means, Digitimes Research believes.

Digitimes Research has revised upward its estimation of global 5G phone shipments for 2019 due to the ramp-ups in shipments by Chinese handset makers since October 2019. Global 5G phones are estimated to reach 21 million units in 2019, including 12.5-13.5 million units shipped to the China market, and are likely to expand to over 248 million units in 2020.

Global shipments of foldable smartphones are estimated to total 400,000-600,000 units in 2019 and are expected to grow slowly to 2-3 million units in 2020 due to higher prices and lack of innovative applications of these models, Digitimes Research estimates.

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