Huawei's new smartphone has an upgraded camera, its latest advanced chipset and a better battery. What it may not have outside the Chinese tech giant's home market is very many buyers.
Huawei, which recently became the world's No. 1 smartphone maker, on Thursday unveiled its Mate 40 line of premium phones, a product release that comes at a crucial moment for the company as it runs out of room to maneuver around US sanctions squeezing its ability to source components and software.
The Mate 40 could be the last one powered by the company's homegrown Kirin chipsets because of US restrictions in May barring non-American companies from using U.S. technology in manufacturing without a license.
Analysts say the company had been stockpiling chips before the ban but its supply won't last forever.
This is a major challenge to Huawei and it's really losing its market outside of China, said Mo Jia, an analyst at independent research firm Canalys.
The latest US restrictions mean it 100% has closed doors for Huawei to secure its future components.
Executives said this summer that production of Kirin chips would end in mid-September because they're made by contractors that need US manufacturing technology.
In a press preview this week ahead of the Mate 40's launch, staff declined to answer questions on Huawei's ability to source chips. The head of Huawei's consumer business, Richard Yu, referred only briefly to the issue at the end of a virtual launch event Thursday.
For Huawei, nowadays we are in a very difficult time. We are suffering from the U.S. government's third round ban. It's an unfair ban. It makes (the situation) extremely difficult, Yu said.
Huawei, which is also a major supplier of wireless network gear, is facing pressure in a wider global battle waged between the US and China over trade and technological supremacy.
The US government's efforts to lobby allies in Europe to not give it a role in new high-speed 5G wireless networks over cybersecurity concerns has been paying off, with countries including Sweden and Britain blocking its gear.
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