Huawei unveils Mate 40 in China, challenging US crackdown and its rival iPhone 12

By Chen Qingqing and Fan Lingzhi in Shanghai Source: Published: 2020/10/30 16:26:51 Last Updated: 2020/10/30 21:26:51

A launch event for the Huawei Mate 40 series in Shanghai on Friday Photo: Courtesy of Huawei

The world's second-largest smartphone maker Huawei Technologies unveiled its latest flagship series Huawei Mate 40 in China on Friday, openly challenging the escalating US crackdown on Chinese firms' high-end chipsets and its US rival Apple's iPhone 12. 

The latest high-end smartphone is powered by the world's first 5-nanometer 5G chipset, Richard Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's consumer division, said at a launch event in Shanghai, claiming that its homebuilt processor technology is 30 percent more effective than Apple's A13. 

The latest 5G smartphone also supports the fastest 5G speeds, with an average 5G speed ranging between 2.6 times and 6.8 times the average 5G network speed, Yu said. 

Powered using Huawei's homegrown Kirin 5-nanometer chipsets, the latest Mate series release could also mark an "end of an era" as Huawei has been constantly targeted by the US' intensifying crackdown amid the US-initiated tech war against China. 

The current Trump administration recently moved to block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei from global chipmakers, which also raised concerns that Huawei may be forced to reduce, or even stop selling its high-end mobile phones, like the Mate 40, given its limited access to cutting-edge chipsets. 

"The latest Mate 40 series might be the last generation of Huawei smartphones powered by its homegrown high-end chipset Kirin 9000, which will likely arouse wide sentiments of sympathy among Chinese consumers," Jiang Junmu, a veteran industry analyst and chief writer at telecom industry news website, told the Global Times on Friday. 

It will certainly boost sales in the Chinese market, however, he said. 

In addition to releasing the performance parameters of the latest series, Yu also told a story about what inspired the yellow color design of the Huawei Mate 40, as designers referred it to "populus euphratica," which is a salt-tolerant plant species found in the most inhospitable deserts. 

"It also represents the spirit of the Chinese people, as they never yield to difficulties and always stay strong," Yu said, making a metaphor about Huawei's struggles in light of the US' crackdown.

The latest smartphone is also the world's first to support digital Chinese yuan. Based on its hardware-level security capabilities, the phone has encrypted storage, which enables its use in pilot digital RMB scenarios as China accelerates its digital currency development.

After Huawei released the Huawei Mate 40 series recently overseas, it has seen online orders exceed the current supply under US pressure, Yu told the audience, adding that the company has been making maximum efforts to meet the demand. 

"After three rounds of US sanctions, we are still here releasing new products. No matter how many difficulties are there, we'll strive to find the way to tackle the growing challenges. We'll survive and thrive," he said. 

The price for the Huawei Mate 40 in China ranges from 4,999 yuan ($746.33) to 8,999 yuan. The  price for high-end special edition Huawei Mate 40 RS ranges from 11,999 yuan to 12,999 yuan.

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