Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is set to complete a month of high-profile statement-making moves with its autumn product launch on September 25, with the company confirming the event on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo on Thursday. The date marks the anniversary of the return to China of Sabrina Meng (Meng Wanzhou), Huawei’s chief financial officer, who was under house arrest in Canada for three years due to an extradition request from the US, where she faced fraud charges.
The announcement comes after Huawei’s much-hyped surprise launch of pre-sales for its Mate 60 Pro phone, during the visit to China of US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. The phone features a self-developed Kirin 9000S chip that uses 7nm technology despite US sanctions aimed at limiting China’s chip-developing capabilities.
Why it matters: Huawei is hoping to re-establish itself in the mobile phone market after three years of US restrictions. The autumn launch also pits the company against two major Chinese phone manufacturers, Xiaomi and Oppo.
Details: The launch of the new Mate series means that Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi have now all updated their flagship phones ahead of November 11, a major shopping festival in China.
- Oppo launched its latest foldable offering the Find N3 Flip on August 29, the day Huawei started pre-sales of its Mate 60 Pro without warning. The following day, trending topics on Weibo were dominated by discussion around whether the Huawei Mate 60 Pro was 5G-capable or not. Huawei unveiled the Mate 60 Pro+ and Mate X5 foldable on September 8, coinciding with the official sales release of the Oppo Find N3 Flip.
- Some industry analysts have speculated that Huawei picked these dates for maximum marketing value. It was not the first time that Huawei appears to have picked a strategic date. On August 23, several industry sources said Huawei planned to hold a product launch event on September 12, the same day as Apple’s latest product launch.
- Huawei may have invested heavily in promoting its brand and products on Weibo over the last two weeks. Various hashtags related to Huawei products have featured prominently on the platform’s trending topic list, for instance #HuaweiMate60 (1.5 billions views and 238,000 discussions), #HuaweiMatex5 (600 million views and 40,000 discussions), and #HuaweiProductLaunch (200 million views and 29,000 discussions). Discussion figures are a combination of posts, likes, comments, and forwards.
- Xiaomi has been discreetly preparing to release its annual flagship Xiaomi 14 series at the same time. The device will be the first Android phone powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 on the global market. On Wednesday, sources told IThome that Xiaomi will release its Xiaomi 14 series in early November, with products positioned in a similar manner to the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max. Orders placed with online and physical stores have increased by 60% compared with the same period last year, the IThome report added.
- There has been no official announcement regarding products Huawei will showcase at its upcoming launch event, though there has been speculation that the firm may introduce the Mate 60 series and Mate X5 foldable. The centerpiece of the event will be the unveiling of the Kirin 9000S 5G processor, according to local media outlet IThome.
Contexts: Huawei has enjoyed a wave of nationalistic support in China, with backing for its new products from numerous official channels and state media accounts on social media.
- On Tuesday, Martin Yang, an analyst from US-based financial firm Oppenheimer, said that Huawei’s new flagship phones may lead to a decrease in iPhone shipments in 2024 by 10 million units.
- On Thursday, Huawei increased its 2023 mobile phone shipment target to at least 40 million units, according to industry sources.