Ren was speaking in an interview with Yahoo Finance, during which he estimated that the company will ship 270 million handsets this year, a 30% increase on the 206 million shipped the year before.
As a result of the US blacklisting, which saw the company added to what is known as the US Entity List, Huawei was virtually banned from buying from or selling to the US. For the smartphone maker, this has curbed its access to software and semiconductors.
In May, following the US government’s announcement, Google, which produces the world’s most widely used smartphone operating system, announced that it would cease Huawei (and sub brand Honor) access to Google apps and services. Since then, Google has applied for an export licence, which would allow it to continue to provide to Huawei phones.
In the weeks following the announcement of the ban, sales of Huawei smartphones plummeted, company officials admitted to Yahoo, with some markets seeing sales fall by more than 40%. Executives forecasted a $30 billion hit to full year revenues. Ren accepted that his firm had not been “fully prepared for being added to the Entity List.”
But it has reacted swiftly. Looking to shore up key markets, the company invested in a variety of different communications campaigns in an effort to wrest control of the narrative. It also worked to reassure consumers in Germany, Italy, and Singapore with a 2-year warranty promising a full refund if Google’s apps cease to work on their devices.
As a result, Huawei has ramped up its effort in its native China. First, it has mentioned (but stops short of detailing) Hongmeng, a new operating system which is under development. “We will only look into developing our own smartphone OS when Android is no longer an option, but as of now, we don't plan on it,” Ren says.
To maintain its target of growing sales by 20%, Huawei is targeting a significant increase in Chinese market share across its various product lines: smartphones, network hardware, laptops and cloud computing. Experts, such as HIS Markit analysts who spoke to SCMP, suggest that the US ban has provided great national PR, serving as an encouragement for people to buy Chinese technology.
The company is targeting several high-profile smartphone product launches in the later part of 2019, including the folding Huawei Mate X which was announced at MWC 2019, all of which would rely on Android. Any restrictions could cause major delays.
“We are discussing this kind of issue, but right now we have only Plan A, to prepare the launch of our new products with Android,” Ren maintains.
Sourced from Yahoo Finance, WARC, SCMP; additional content by WARC staff