SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies on Thursday continued to press ahead against U.S. pressure by launching a new smartphone with a price starting at 4,488 yuan ($658), which it promised has a top end camera though it would only be able to use 4G.
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer arm, spent almost an hour presenting Huawei’s self-developed XMAGE camera, now on the flagship after Leica moved its partnership to rival phonemaker Xiaomi Corp last year, at a Chinese language-only event in Shanghai.
Huawei, also a major supplier of equipment used in 5G telecommunications networks, has been the target of successive rounds of U.S. export controls since 2019.
Those controls cut off Huawei’s supply of chips from U.S. companies and its access to U.S. technology tools to design its own chips and have them manufactured by partners.
The various actions have largely hobbled Huawei’s handset business, which commanded 42% of the China market in 2019, but was not among the top five sellers in China in 2022, according to data from consultancy Canalys.
The company’s former budget unit Honor claimed 18% of the market last year, with 30% annual growth, Canalys said.
Huawei sold Honor to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers to keep it alive in late 2019.
Huawei also launched the more premium P60 Pro and foldable Mate X3, with prices starting at 6,988 yuan and 12,999 yuan respectively.
The smartphones will use Huawei’s home-built Harmony operating system.
U.S. sanctions banned Alphabet Inc’s Google from providing technical support to new Huawei phone models and access to Google Mobile Services, the bundle of developer services upon which most Android apps are based.
($1 = 6.8230 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by David Kirton; editing by Christian Schmollinger)