Huawei has announced that it has shipped 200 million smartphones so far in 2019 — 64 days quicker than it took to hit the same milestone in 2018.
The Chinese technology giant has unveiled a number of new devices so far this year, including flagship high-end devices under the Huawei brand, a future-looking foldable 5G device, and smartphones from its Honor sub-brand. However, Huawei was placed on a U.S. trade blacklist earlier this year that prohibits all U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese tech giant — this includes Google, which is currently unable to provide Huawei with Android services that are integral to Huawei mobile phones outside of China.
While this ban doesn’t impact existing Huawei devices, which will continue to receive Android updates, it has affected newer phones, including the high-end Mate 30 series which launched last month but is yet unavailable to buy internationally. Assuming nothing changes in terms of the U.S. trade blacklist, Huawei will have to ship all future phones without Google’s apps, including Google Play and the millions of third-party apps that are available through the app store.
So while Huawei is laying claim to a bumper 2019 so far, it really should be juxtaposed against the bigger picture here — the effects of the trade ban haven’t likely been fully felt yet. If the U.S. trade ban remains in place, it’s difficult to see how Huawei’s consumer business can continue to grow outside of China. That all said, Huawei has reportedly enjoyed a major uptick in sales in its domestic market as patriotic Chinese consumers back the company against the U.S.-imposed sanctions, so it could be that any drop in global sales are offset — temporarily, at least — by sales at home.
Huawei is currently the number 2 smartphone company globally in terms of shipments, ahead of Apple but behind Samsung. When Huawei announced its 200 million milestone for 2018, the company was confident that it could surpass Samsung as the number one smartphone company by the end of 2019, in terms of shipments — based on 2019 estimates so far, that prediction is looking very unlikely to materialize.