Huawei Technologies kicked off a product launch event on Monday by thanking China for its support amid expectations the tech giant, hit by U.S. restrictions, would later reveal more details on its new Mate 60 smartphone series. The company’s Yu Chengdong, chief executive of its consumer business group, took the stage at a stadium in Shenzhen, saying the firm had been working overtime and urgently manufacturing products as much as possible.
Among the first things on display was a poster that depicted a tablet and the slogan “Let’s make a bigger miracle together.” The device appears to be the Mate Pad Pro 13.2, which Huawei says is lighter and thinner than rival products.
It was a bold and symbolic statement from a company facing the chill of U.S. curbs on chipmaking that have been in place since 2019. Washington has alleged that Huawei’s devices threaten national security, a claim that the company denies. The Chinese government has rallied behind the company, urging consumers to buy its phones and other products. Gleeful netizens and state media lost no time trumpeting the phones, while patriotic consumers fueled sales.
Analysts estimate the Mate 60 series has shipped more than 5 million units, though Huawei has not disclosed shipment details. TechInsights, a research firm that tracks the global supply chain of smartphones, has found that the phones’ Kirin 9000 processors — made by HiSilicon, the chipmaker owned by Huawei’s parent company — contain more Chinese-made components than previous models.
This could signify that Huawei can retool its plants and shift production toward the more advanced 5G-ready chips it uses in its flagship smartphones. That is a crucial development for the company, primarily based on its international growth in selling those devices.
The company’s upcoming annual autumn launch event is scheduled for Sept. 25, further fueling hopes that more information on the latest Mate 60 phones will be revealed. Huawei is expected to discuss other new technology, including augmented reality, virtual reality, and high-performance computing.
The event comes after the Chinese company announced that it plans to invest $600 million in artificial intelligence and data analytics over the next five years, a massive increase in its investment in those areas. The move is part of a larger strategy to shift the company’s focus away from its traditional strengths in consumer and carrier hardware towards telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, cloud computing, and other technologies. The company hopes these investments will allow it to compete better with industry leaders like Apple and Samsung Electronics. It also aims to become a leading player in the industrial Internet of Things and autonomous driving, where the company believes it can gain a strong foothold. The company has 12 R&D centers worldwide, employing over 4000 scientists and researchers and holding 3000 patents. It has also been investing heavily in partnerships with universities, startups, and other partners to accelerate technological advancements in the industry.