Wednesday, 11 November 2020 05:27

Huawei finalising sale of budget smartphone unit Honor for $20b Featured

The Honor 10X Lite which was released this month. The Honor 10X Lite which was released this month. Courtesy Honor

Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies is likely to sell its budget smartphone unit, Honor, to a group which is led by Digital China and the Shenzhen Government, a report claims.

Reuters quoted "people with knowledge of the matter" as indicating there was little hope among the Huawei top brass that the election of Democrat Joe BIden to be the next US president would change any of the policies enacted against the Chinese firm over the last three-odd years.

Talks to finalise the pending sale were first reported in October.

The report said the sale would net Huawei 100 billion yuan (A$20.75 billion) in an all-cash deal.

The sale is expected to leave Huawei free to focus on its high-end smartphones even as it struggles to find an alternative source of supply of the semiconductors needed to build its own processors.

The last top-end Huawei smartphone, the Mate 40, was released on 22 October and uses the company's own Kirin processors, which are designed by its own HiSilicon unit, and made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, using 5nm chips.

But that will be the last time for a while that Huawei will be able to use Kirin SoCs, which pack much more grunt than others on the market. US restrictions mean that from September 15 onwards no company can accept orders from Huawei without first obtaining a licence from the US Department of Commerce.

The American sanctions, and the fact that many other countries have avoided handing 5G network contracts to Huawei, have hit the company financially over the last year or so.

Honor, which was set up in 2013, sold 26% of the 51.7 million handsets that Huawei shipped in the third quarter of 2020, according to tech analyst firm Canalys. Honor also makes laptops, tablet computers, smart TVs and electronic accessories.

iTWire has contacted Honor for comment.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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