Huawei to sell TVs as smartphone sales slide

1 min read
Attendees try Huawei's Mate 20 Pro at CES Asia 2019 in Shanghai, China on June 11, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Shi Jiayi)
Attendees try Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro at CES Asia 2019 in Shanghai, China on June 11, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Shi Jiayi)

Huawei announced on Monday that it would unveil a smart television product in August, according to Chinese media outlet Yicai, a move that broadens the Chinese telecom giant’s business into the TV-related sector.

Why it matters: Huawei is expanding its consumer business into other hardware segments as governments in countries around the globe scrutinize its telecom equipment over cybersecurity concerns and smartphone sales decline after it lost access to Android following a US trade ban in May.

  • Huawei’s sales revenue from its consumer business—which sells smartphone, laptops, and other gadgets—grew 45% year on year to RMB 348.9 billion (around $50.7 billion) in 2018, according to its annual financial results released in March.
  • But Huawei’s smartphone sales sank 40% from May to June after the US Commerce Department placed the company on a trade blacklist, and Google restricted its access to Android.

“TV has its irreplaceable advantages. TVs and smartphones will work as two centers in people’s daily lives.”

—Zhao Ming, president of the Honor smartphone line, as quoted by China Daily

Details: The new TV product, which Huawei calls a smart screen, will be sold under the company’s Honor smartphone brand.

  • Zhao said that the product will become the center for devices around the family and serve as the center of video entertainment, information sharing, and multi-device interaction, but offered few details on actual specifications or price, according to Yicai.

Context: Huawei’s consumer business relies heavily on American technology and components, but the company was recently granted some reprieve from US sanctions.

  • US President Donald Trump promised to allow some tech exports to Huawei to resume at the G20 meeting in Japan last month. A Reuters report on Monday said the US government might approve licenses for companies to resume sales to Huawei in two to four weeks.
  • Television sales in China were 47.7 million units last year, and the number is expected to weaken 1.6% year on year in 2019, according to market research company All View Cloud.