If you have been a keen follower of mobile news, you already know of the trade ban imposed on Huawei in early 2019 by the United States government. You know that Huawei has been unable to include Google Mobile Services and apps in new smartphones, and the Huawei Mate 30 series phones are the first to be hit by that restriction.
After weighing its options, Huawei has proceeded to announce and release its Mate 30 devices without Google’s apps and services. The fear of the whole world was that those devices would not sell well. But the records so far tell a different story: The Mate 30 alone sold a million units in its first week of sales in China alone, and the entire Huawei Mate 30 series devices are blowing up sales records.
Which devices make up the Huawei Mate 30 series?
In all, there are 5 Huawei Mate 30 series smartphones, as follows:
- Huawei Mate 30,
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro,
- Huawei Mate 30 5G,
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G, and
- Huawei Mate 30 RS Porsche Design.
So far, the series have been made officially available in China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the UAE. And the records say that these phones all together have sold over 7 million units from launch time till late November 2019 .
Why are the Huawei Mate 30 series phones selling so well?
One word: China. China is a beast. It is the world’s largest mobile phone market by far. And driven by a sense of patriotism fired up by the US trade ban, the Chinese are buying Huawei’s big phone in huge numbers. It is a big red middle finger to the United States of America.
One, the Huawei Mate 30 is a solid phone despite the absence of Google’s licensing. Those specs are hard to beat. Among its sterling capabilities is its photography. The Mate 30 Pro beat the Galaxy Note10+’s camera on DXOMark. Two, in China, Google Mobile Services and apps are a non-issue anyway: phones targeted at the Chines market do not run those apps and services, so Huawei loses nothing in China.
I have said it before that Huawei can survive the US trade ban based on its strong hold on the Chinese smartphone market, and we are seeing it play out already. It is this same strong hold that is behind my firm belief that should Huawei deploy its own mobile operating system, it would get away with it.
As at 2017, Huawei, OPPO and Vivo owned 50% of China’s smartphone market, with Huawei having the lead with 18%. That hold has not waned, and against all odds, the Huawei Mate 30 series phones are holding up in sales.
Does the trade ban hurt Huawei in any way? Of course; it does. Imagine how many millions more Huawei Mate 30 series devices would be selling around the world right now. It would be recording runaway sales, because as said before, it is almost unmatched at the moment.
The US trade ban against Huawei has slowed down the company’s march to unseat Samsung as the top Android phone brand in the world, but I doubt that it will stop its advance. Huawei has demonstrated over the years that it is a resilient brand and that is playing out again in this tight situation.
But have you noticed that the company is able to release other new phone models with Google Mobile Services and apps? How are they able to pull that off. It is a neat little trick. What Huawei is doing is releasing new variants of its existing phones that already have a Google license.
That way, they are able to skirt around the ban. If you look closely, the new phones running full Android OS with Google are minor variants of existing phones that already have been licensed by Google. An example of this is the new Huawei Y9s, a rebranded version of the Honor 9X.
Doing this, Huawei is able to keep its head above water in countries outside of China. It is a strategy that will not hold up forever, though. At some point in time, the specs of the existing phones they are milking will become outdated and customers will long for upgraded specs. What will Huawei do then?
The Mate 30 series are selling well, but will the current wave of patriotism hold, considering how close behind Huawei OPPO and Vivo are. If those other Chinese brands manage to out-innovate and outmanuevre Huawei in their home country, the game just might be all over.
But it isn’t over until it is over. For now, the gladiators must keep jostling. So far, Huawei has held its ground. We must let time have its way.
- Huawei sells 7 million Mate 30 phones: LINK (Chinese)