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Huawei Expected to Fall to Seventh Spot in Global Smartphone Production as U.S. Sanctions Bite

By Ding Yi / Jan 07, 2021 06:28 PM / Business & Tech

Huawei may soon rank as the world’s seventh-largest smartphone maker as measured by production volume this year, a dramatic fall from third place last year. The drop comes as the Chinese tech giant reels from the fallout of a U.S. campaign aimed at cutting off its access to handset chips made with American technology.

The Shenzhen-based company is expected to produce 45 million smartphones in 2021, a sharp drop from 170 million units in 2020, even though global smartphone production volume is likely to grow 9% year-on-year to 1.36 billion units this year due to stronger demand for device replacement and from the emerging markets, according to TrendForce.

TrendForce said that the double whammy of U.S. tech export restrictions and the sale of its former budget cellphone brand Honor is responsible for Huawei’s falling smartphone production volume.

The research firm went on to say that Honor, which was sold late last year to a government-backed consortium in exchange for an opportunity to save the brand’s industry chain crippled by the current U.S. sanctions, will pose a direct challenge to Huawei’s efforts to regain market share globally.

Sources told Caixin that Honor is moving toward resuming its partnership with Qualcomm to develop smartphones powered by the U.S. semiconductor giant’s 5G chipsets, which are expected to hit the market in May or June.

TrendForce predicted that the global production volume of 5G smartphones will nearly double to 500 million units this year, of which 8% will be made by Huawei, compared with 30% last year.

Samsung is forecast to remain the world’s largest smartphone maker this year, followed by Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Transsion, according to TrendForce.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (

Related: Huawei Spinoff Honor Works With Qualcomm on 5G Devices

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