Huawei denies media reports, says it has no plan to sell phone businesses
Published: Jan 25, 2021 07:08 PM

Huawei 5G File photo: Xinhua

Huawei has no plans to sell its mobile phone business, the company told the Global Times on Monday, in response to media reports saying that Huawei is in talks to sell premium smartphone brands P and Mate series.

Reuters reported that Huawei is in early-stage talks to sell its premium smartphone brands P and Mate, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter, describing the plan as "a move that could see the company eventually exit from the high-end smartphone-making business."

"Huawei has learned that there are unsubstantiated rumors circulating regarding the possible sale of our flagship smartphone brands. There is no merit to these rumors whatsoever. Huawei has no such plan," the company said in a statement it sent to the Global Times on Monday.

"We remain fully committed to our smartphone business, and will continue to deliver world-leading products and experiences for consumers around the world," it said.

Talks between the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker and a consortium led by Shanghai government-backed investment firms have been going on for months, the people said, declining to be identified as the discussions were confidential, according to the Reuters report.

"Fake news," several sources inside Huawei including some senior executives from the consumer business division, told the Global Times when asked about the report on Monday.

"I don't think Huawei's going to sell its high-end series at a time when Biden's policy toward China remains unknown, and it has just secured a large amount of cash from its Honor sale," Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, who closely follows Huawei, told the Global Times on Monday.

Xiang said the P and Mate series are less independent than Honor, which means that another division would be "quite difficult."

Huawei has continuously stressed that it will not give up its phone business. Huawei has reserved "a quite number" of mobile chips for pending new phone series including the P50 and Mate50 series, a Tencent report said on Thursday, citing Huawei insiders, adding Huawei has not stopped research and development (R&D) for the P and Mate series, and subsequent models will also be released.

However, analysts pointed out that Huawei has a really "tight chip supply" due to the US chip cut. The reported talks with a Shanghai-based consortium, which could be some state-owned assets, do not necessarily mean a deal can be made, but it's still possible, they said.

"Amid the ongoing chip dilemma, it may be possible that Huawei will find someone to foster its smartphone subsidiary first, and then take it back if there could be a turnaround, but there are strong uncertainties," a veteran industry analyst, who closely follows Huawei, told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Monday.

Since Honor restored all its partnerships with key suppliers after the Huawei split, if Huawei can keep its high-end smartphone business afloat this way, the sale of phone assets is also possible, the analyst said.

On Friday, Honor said that it had resumed cooperation with all suppliers, including Qualcomm, Micron, MediaTek, Samsung, Microsoft and Intel. Honor also released its new V40 smartphone series on Friday, its first new handset after the budget phone brand was sold by parent firm Huawei in November last year amid the US chip ban.