Huawei never seems to miss the spotlight and for odd reasons. Back in March, the United States termed the Chinese smartphone manufacturer a threat to
Huawei never seems to miss the spotlight and for odd reasons. Back in March, the United States termed the Chinese smartphone manufacturer a threat to its national security. Recently, the group’s chairman said Huawei would reclaim the smartphone industry’s “throne” despite American sanctions. I happened to catch this news on a TV channel on my Super internet deals at the time and was amazed by the resilience of the company.
The smartphone vendor has been facing lows ever since former US President Donald Trump put it under sanctions. These sanctions prevent Huawei from purchasing core technology of US origin. Moreover, it is no longer the biggest smartphone company in the world – a title it held for several months. How the relations between Huawei and the United States fell out of place is in itself an interesting tale.
The Origins of Huawei
Huawei had humble beginnings as a sales and manufacturing company based in China’s Shenzhen region. The year was 1987 when former PLA Deputy Regimental Chief Ren Zhengfei laid the foundations of the company. Huawei continued to supply phones and cables manufactured in Hong Kong to other parts of China until 1996.
The vendor made several breakthroughs during the latter half of the nineties. It was no longer just a phone switch manufacturer. Huawei expanded its business operations to include telecom equipment manufacturing and consulting services. Today, it has a network that’s spread in over 170 countries. It is also one of the world’s leading smartphone producers.
As mentioned before, Huawei expanded in the late nineties to include new products and services. The new product lines included USB modems, smartphones, tablet PCs, and smartwatches. Moreover, it expanded its business segments to the cloud and AI products. Currently, three segments make up the group. They are Carrier Network Business Group, Consumer Business Group, and Cloud and AI Business Group.
The Carrier Network Business Group is responsible for the production of wireless networks. The Consumer Business Group, on the other hand, is the core group of the company. It manufactures smartphones, smart speakers, and other internet-enabled devices. Lastly, the Cloud and AI Business Group look after the production of cloud-based services and products.
A Brief History of Huawei Smartphones
Huawei Technologies launched its first mobile phone in 2004. It was called the C300. The company introduced its first 3G phone a year later. In 2006, the company shipped another 3G handset V710. It was branded by Vodafone. In 2009, Huawei introduced its first Android smartphone. The Ascend P1 S Series arrived on the market in 2012. The year also marked the debut of Huawei’s first 4G phone.
The company would go on to unveil the world’s first LTE Cat4 smartphone in 2014. The very same year it launched Ascend Mate2. However, the company dropped the Ascend series together with its allied products in 2015. It came up with a new P series to replace the Ascend smartphone. It also co-developed Nexus 6P with Google in 2015. Huawei’s current line of smartphones includes the P and Mate series.
Issues with the West
Huawei has had a history of contentions with many western countries, especially the United States. It has faced numerous allegations including spying on its users on behalf of the Chinese government and making attempts to subvert the U.S. sanctions against Iran. In 2019, Huawei’s relations with the U.S. reached a new low. Then-President Donald Trump issued orders to blacklist the company. The new sanctions also prevented Huawei from purchasing core tech of American origin.
In February 2021, Huawei chief Ren Zhengfei expressed the hope that his company’s relations would improve with the U.S. under the government of Joe Biden. However, relations reached a new low after the Federal Communications Commission referred to the company as a threat to U.S. security. Huawei is among five other companies deemed “an unacceptable risk” to US national security. The other companies are:
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Though the company is hopeful it will continue to operate in the smartphone market, it is no longer the player it was before the sanctions. Huawei chief also said the smartphone manufacturer would once again claim the industry “throne”. The United States, on the other hand, has also successfully pressurized its allies to rethink their ties with the Chinese telecom giant.