Huawei launches new laptop despite US attack

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/19 22:03:40

Shifts focus to PC as mobile businesses at risk

Huawei Photo:IC

Huawei Technologies launched a new laptop, the MateBook X Pro, in Shanghai on Wednesday, rapidly stepping into the global laptop market as its mobile business sustains a major blow from the US' tightened microchips ban.

The laptop, with a price starting from 7,999 yuan ($1,158) — its first with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and its lightest weighing only 1 kilogram - was released at the company's first offline launch event since the coronavirus outbreak.

In comparison, Apple's MacBook Air models weigharound 1.25 kg whereas the MacBook Pro models weighs 1.37 kg.

Richard Yu Chengdong, head of Huawei's consumer business group, said at the launch that the firm has gone through a difficult time because of the US sanctions, adding that Huawei's Matebook has now  taken a 19.6-percent market share in China.

The new Matebook has its own MacOS-like feature called Huawei Share, enabling it to seamlessly transfer files between Huawei devices, as well as serve as an alternate screen for Huawei smartphones. 

"In the new laptop, Huawei has achieved the ultimate in lightness and thinness. This not only requires strong design and stacking skills, but also requires a certain degree of experience in electronic consumer products - which it has built up from its strength in making smartphones," Jiang Junmu, an industry analyst and a close follower of Huawei, told the Global Times Wednesday.


Analysts said the new product launch, which comes as its mobile business is under pressure from the US' intensified chip ban, indicates the laptop segment could be another battle ground where Huawei will increase its investment.

The US Department of Commerce Monday issued a new rule that would prevent Huawei from acquiring chips produced with US technology and software from any third parties, a move that analysts said essentially cuts off supplies of key components for Huawei smartphone manufacturing. 

The tightened ban will force Huawei to shift focus from its mobile device business to laptops, smart TVs and home appliances, Ma Jihua, an industry analyst, told the Global Times.

Huawei also launched a series of new Matebook 13 and 14, as well as a Matebook B specifically designed for enterprise users Wednesday.

Huawei's laptops are still using processors from US tech giant Intel and carrying Microsoft's Windows system.

Chips for Huawei's computers are unlikely to be cut but may need authorization from the US government. Moreover, Intel chips are all public versions, with basically no customization, said an industry observer, who asked to remain anonymous. "The 'alliance' of Microsoft and Intel may be easier and strong enough to get authorization from the US authorities," said the observer.

Huawei has also stepped up efforts to cultivate its own ecosystem for PCs - known as Qingyun — which could evolve to be a potential replacement for Windows, and also a key component of the HarmonyOS, according to media reports.

Huawei's Qingyun ecosystem adaptation list already has nearly 500 items of China-made software and hardware, said the reports.

In the future, all of Huawei's digital products, including PCs, tablets and mobile phones, may use HarmonyOS, which will become an operating system that can be used globally, Yu said previously.

Newspaper headline: Huawei shows new laptop


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