Chinese firms swarm back to MWC 2023, as Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi to lead nation’s showing
Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi to lead nation’s showing
Published: Feb 26, 2023 07:44 PM

Photo taken on Feb. 23, 2021 shows a view of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2021 in east China's Shanghai. The MWC Shanghai 2021 opened on Tuesday.(Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on Feb. 23, 2021 shows a view of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2021 in east China's Shanghai.(Photo: Xinhua)

Chinese telecom and information technology enterprises are coming back to the Mobile World Congress 2023 with enthusiasm to demonstrate their latest innovations and products, in a bid to tap into new business opportunities and gain a bigger footprint in the European markets and beyond.

As the first major telecom industry event in post-pandemic phase, the four-day expo in Barcelona, Spain, from February 27 to March 2, has attracted an array of leading Chinese firms including telecommunications equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, smartphone vendors OPPO and Xiaomi, personal computer maker Lenovo, and telecom carriers China Unicom and China Telecom.

Although COVID-19 still has a lingering impact such as the number of international flights to Spain being cut, the enthusiasm among Chinese attendees has not been affected. 

The total number of attendees stands at 4,000 to 5,000, nearly 60 percent of the pre-COVID peak, John Hoffman, CEO and director of the GSM Association (GSMA), the MWC organizer, told the Global Times. The pandemic forced the organizer to cancel the 2020 session and postpone the 2021 event to June.

More than 80,000 industry experts, researchers, business leaders and executives will visit MWC 2023 to see more than 2,000 exhibitors demonstrate their innovations.

Apart from the return of Chinese industry behemoths such as Huawei and ZTE, many technology firms from Shenzhen, a tech hub in South China's Guangdong Province, are coming back to the event, bringing the total number of Chinese firms to around 150.

It's an active signal of a rebound, "which we feel very excited about," Hoffman said.

He said that unlike the low-key style of Chinese tech firms during previous exhibits, this year they are more willing to tell their stories and share their experience in areas where China has built up obvious advantages like 5G.

The nation has built the world's largest 5G network and has the largest number of 5G subscribers.

Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based tech industry observer, told the Global Times on Sunday that cutting-edge technologies such as satellite communication and folding screen technology may be unveiled at the MWC by Chinese companies.

As one of the 5G pioneers, Huawei will showcase 10 new energy-efficient, high-performance wireless network products and solutions, which will help operators evolve all bands to 5G through multiple unique innovations in the industry, the company said. The company's new P60 line of smartphones is expected to be exhibited during the event. The new phones could be equipped with second-generation satellite communications technology, media reports said.

Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi is set to launch the Xiaomi 13 series at MWC 2023. The Xiaomi 13 series was first introduced in China last year and includes the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro models.

Another smartphone vendor OPPO said it will showcase a selection of devices including its flagship foldable smartphone OPPO Find N2 Flip, new connectivity products and Internet of Things technology, as well as its research and development breakthroughs in chip technology, smart health and augmented reality.

Since the launch of its Find N2 series, it has ranked top in the domestic foldable smartphone market in terms of sales.

In January, sales of foldable mobile phones in the Chinese market increased by 54 percent year-on-year and 57 percent month-on-month. Among them, OPPO's sales jumped by 483 percent year-on-year and gave it a 30 percent market share, data from consultancy CINNO showed.

Last year, global smartphone shipments slid to the lowest level since 2013, declining by 12 percent to 1.2 billion units, data from Counterpoint Research showed. Global smartphone revenue fell by 9 percent to $409 billion, the lowest since 2017.

"The impact of the pandemic is easing, but for domestic mobile phone players, risks and opportunities will coexist for a long period, and to stimulate consumers' desire to buy new phones is where our technology should aim," an OPPO representative told the Global Times.

"We believe that foldable mobile phones will become the main models in the mainstream mobile phone market in the next five years," the representative said.

Big Chinese smartphone makers increased their presence at this year's MWC to project themselves as global players and the event will offer a good opportunity for them to tap into European markets and beyond, according to Liu.