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Huawei crackdown

Huawei concedes it will not top global smartphone market this year

'Surprises' bar Chinese company from overtaking Samsung, exec suggests

Huawei sold nearly 60 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2019, behind Samsung's 71.9 million.   © AP

SHANGHAI -- The U.S.'s tougher stance against Huawei Technology has slowed the Chinese company's progress in overtaking Samsung as the world's largest smartphone maker, a senior Huawei executive suggested on Tuesday.

"If there were no surprises, we would have become the largest in the fourth quarter [of this year]. But now we feel this process may take a longer time," Shao Yang, chief strategy officer of Huawei Consumer Business Group, told participants at the CES Asia technology show in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Shao did not clarify which "surprises" he was referring to, but his comments come on the heels of a de facto export ban imposed by the Trump administration. Last month, the U.S. Commerce of Department announced that companies would have to obtain a license to export any U.S. components or technology to Huawei, a move that forced technology giants such as Google and Western Digital to suspend their collaboration with the Chinese company.

Huawei's smartphones run on the Google Android operating system. Analysts and distributors have warned that if the smartphone maker loses access to updates and signature services from Google, consumers in the West will shun Huawei's handsets. Already Japan's SoftBank Corp. last month called off its sales plan of Huawei's P30 lite smartphones, while KDDI is delaying sales of the premium handset, originally due at the end of May.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, said last week that orders from Huawei have declined since the Chinese company was hit with the new U.S. restriction. Taiwan-based Auras Technology, another top supplier of Huawei devices, also said that a Chinese customer's orders were affected, without specifying which company.

Huawei surpassed Apple to become the world's second-largest smartphone vendor in the second quarter of 2018 and has retained that position since, according to global research firm IDC. The Shenzhen-based company currently sells 500,000 to 600,000 phones per day, Shao said. In the first quarter of 2019, it logged smartphone sales of 59.1 million units, compared with Samsung's sales of 71.9 million for the same period.

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