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What’s next for Huawei?

Things have been crazy for Huawei, haven’t they? First, they get caught up in the middle of trade tensions between the American and Chinese governments. Then, the U.S. lifts the restrictions on American companies—but only somewhat, as we discovered later on.

Customers have still seemingly supported the Chinese brand, who has the aim of becoming the number 1 smartphone maker in the world by 2020. This is, to an extent, reflected in the numbers: Sales for the P30 series reached 10 million units in record time, a full 62 days earlier than the previous P20 series. Huawei also tells us that they shipped around 100 million units by the end of the May this year, another improvement from 2018.

At the moment, Huawei is also awaiting confirmation on whether it can continue to use Google’s Android operating system on their future devices. However, with the partial lifting of U.S. trade restrictions (at the G20 Summit) along with the fact that Android would appear to fall within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s definition of globally-available goods, a calculated guess would be that we can expect to see future Huawei devices on Android. As for Hongmeng OS, things remain murky, still—Huawei’s future devices will stay on Android, as you’ll see below.

They’ve also recently launched a new campaign, aptly named in light of recent developments: the No Worries campaign. This means that selected models, including the P30 and Mate 20 series smartphones, will come with an additional 1-year warranty for selected smartphones that are purchased within the campaign period (1st July – 30th September 2019). In addition to that, prices have been lowered for certain models, which we found out were permanent price drops, rather than promotional prices.

I was invited to a press conference with Huawei Malaysia’s Country Director for Consumer Business Group, Bill Liu, to find out a little more about the campaign, as well as what Huawei’s plans for the future are like. Watch the video below for the interesting details:

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Not a hard-sell campaign

This includes a pretty big price drop for the flagship P30 Pro (8GB/128GB variant) of RM400, which is a pretty big deal, considering the fact that the smartphone only went on sale in Malaysia less than 3 months ago. If you couple that with the extra costs from the extended warranty, as well as the reduction in prices for other models, it adds up to a big investment for Huawei.

So why are they even doing it? Bill explained that they aren’t doing this to meet any sort of sales targets—instead, the campaign is meant to be a reward for Huawei’s supporters.

“The target for sales performance? We follow the original plan, I think. This is not a promotion for our products, it’s a reward to our supporters. It’s not hard-sell in its nature.”

And it isn’t going to end there. Bill also explained that in once this campaign is over, they will explore the possibility of extended warranty for future devices as well. However, nothing is concrete at this point.

We also took the opportunity to ask Bill if 5G would be coming to Malaysia anytime soon, as well as 5G devices like the Mate X. Bill explained that they are still in negotiations with relevant parties, including the MCMC, on the rules that would regulate 5G providers and devices.

Referencing the success of the Mate X, and concurrently 5G networks in China in general; they are trying to push the 5G launch as soon as possible.

Back to the “original” plan

All of this has been on the back burner of most people’s minds though. Most of us have been simply wondering, will future Huawei devices be on Android?

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Bill assured us that this will be the case, calling Huawei “avid supporters” of the ecosystem. Of course, this all comes in the wake of the (partial) resolution of trade tensions, with earlier reports suggesting that an alternative Hongmeng OS was being developed.

Instead, it now seems that Huawei will now be staying on Android, with concurrent plans to push 5G networks and devices to Malaysia still ongoing. Android Q could also make its way to future Huawei devices as well, although there isn’t anything concrete there as of yet.

To me, it seems that Huawei’s No Worries campaign is an attempt by the Chinese company to reassure customers that things are moving along as planned. After all, Bill reiterated throughout the press conference that things are going according to the “original plan”.