Huawei’s long-awaited Mate X foldable phone sold out within seconds of being made available in China on Friday, months after the planned mid-year launch.

Why it matters: The RMB 16,999 (around $2,419.7) device has become the second consumer-ready foldable phone in China after Samsung launched its Galaxy Fold last week, which also sold out soon after sales opened.

  • Huawei has ramped up smartphone marketing in China amid uncertainty in its overseas markets and thus has widened its market share in the country to 42% in the third quarter.
  • The device is only available in China and the company said it has no timetable for sales in overseas markets because demand in the country has exceeded supply.

Details: Huawei began selling the Mate X smartphone, which is compatible with next-generation 5G networks, on Friday morning on the company’s e-commerce platform Vmall.

  • Stock allocated for Friday’s sales ran out “seconds after it kickstarted,” according to local media.
  • A Huawei spokesman declined to disclose the number of devices sold on Friday.
  • Vmall is the only channel where consumers can buy the Mate X at the moment, the spokesman said.
  • Sales of the device will restart every Friday at 10:08 am. The next round of sales will take place on Nov. 22, according to the website.
  • The current production capacity of the handset is roughly 100,000 units per month, according to Kevin Ho, president of Huawei’s handset product line.
  • Ho said at a panel discussion at TechCrunch Shenzhen 2019 on Tuesday that foldable phones would be “the direction where smartphones evolve.“

“People want smartphones to be as small as possible when they carry them, but they want them to be as big as possible when they use them… and the foldable phone is a good solution” (our translation).

—Kevin Ho at TechCrunch Shenzhen 2019 on Tuesday

Context: The Mate X, which was first released in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, features a flexible screen that can fold into a 6.6-inch smartphone and unfold into an 8-inch tablet.

  • Samsung launched its RMB 15,999 Galaxy Fold last Friday in China after it hit markets in South Korea, the US, Singapore, and some European countries.
  • Motorola, the US smartphone brand owned by Chinese PC maker Lenovo, launched on Wednesday a foldable phone that features a 6.2-inch foldable screen and revives the design of its classic Razr handset released in 2004.

HarmonyOS phone tech is ready but lacks ecosystem: Huawei executive

Writing about semiconductors and telecommunications.

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