The new year has mostly inspired new hope for people who want to leave the troubled 2020 behind. Unfortunately for Huawei, this year could actually be worse for it as it starts to feel the full effects of the US sanctions. Despite its best efforts and marketing, what could have been the world’s largest smartphone vendor could end up from number 2 to number 7 even as the global smartphone market grows by just a bit.
Huawei was almost on its way to supplanting Samsung especially after it surpassed Apple as the smartphone market’s #2. And then came US export and trade sanctions that threatened its access to critical products, particularly Google’s apps and services as well as components and materials for making processors. It still had stocks of these to see it through 2020 but research company TrendForce predicts it may have just run out of both time and supplies.
The market analyst predicts that Huawei will only be able to produce 45 million smartphones this year, a sharp drop compared to 2020’s 170 million. And in the field of 5G, Huawei’s market share will drop from 30% to only 8%.
The US sanctions, however, aren’t the only contributing factor to Huawei’s fall. The sale of its Honor business, which usually accounts for a quarter of Huawei’s annual shipments, will definitely hurt it this year. TrendForce even goes as far as saying that Honor will become an even bigger rival that could prevent Huawei from recovering even if the US sanctions are lifted.
That said, TrendForce’s predictions are coming in too early to be definitive. Additionally, it names Transsion as the world’s top 6 smartphone vendor, even though its name might hardly be known outside of China and parts of Asia and Africa.