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Huawei smartphone shipments plummet amid U.S. sanctions

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January 29, 2021

(Reuters) – China smartphone shipments slipped 4% in the December quarter, data showed, as shipments at Huawei Technologies Co Ltd plunged due to U.S. sanctions on the Chinese firm’s chip and component suppliers.

China market share for the company slumped to 22% from 38% in the year-ago quarter, data from research firm Canalys showed. The company remained the market leader, however, with a slim lead over closest rival Oppo.

Its domestic shipments fell 44% to 18.8 million smartphones, and global shipments fell 43% to 32 million smartphones.

(Graphic: Huawei shipments fell off a cliff in last quarter of 2020: https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-SMARTPHONES/qzjpqmgkypx/chart.png)

In May, Washington imposed a new round of measures that effectively prevented companies with U.S.-origin technology from selling to Huawei.

In the fourth quarter, shipments from Apple Inc and Huawei’s domestic rivals Oppo and Vivo grew at a rapid clip, both by roughly a fifth, and Xiaomi Corp’s shipments grew 52%.

Still, China’s overall smartphone market shrank 11% in 2020.

“Huawei could have done another 30 or 40 million units this year were it not for the supply issue,” said Nicole Peng, who tracks China’s smartphone sector at Canalys.

“Meanwhile other brands cannot fill the gap because component supplies are not ramping up quickly enough.”

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Stephen Coates)