Honor, one of the two signature smartphone brands from Huawei Technologies Co, is stepping up focus on the internet of things sector, despite the US government’s latest restrictions on its supply chain.
The company launched a series of new products like gaming notebooks and smartwatches on Wednesday to expand its presence in the IoT sector, as its smartphone business may face a shortage of crucial components such as semiconductors due to Washington’s latest export regulations.
Zhao Ming, president of Honor, said the brand will continue to target young customers by offering trendy consumer electronic products. The Honor Hunter, the company’s flagship gaming notebook, is priced from 7,499 yuan ($1,108) and it is primarily aimed at tapping Chinese gaming enthusiasts’ growing demand for high-end PCs.
The new products came after Huawei’s non-US semiconductor suppliers were asked to halt shipments of products containing US technologies to the company from Tuesday. If they want to pursue the business with Huawei, they must get a license from Washington, according to the latest US government restrictions.
The tighter restrictions, coupled with the US government’s earlier ban on it from doing business with US chip companies, will result in a shortage of processors that Huawei needs for its products.
To cope with the restrictions, experts said Huawei has stocked certain crucial components, including processors for smartphones and 5G base stations. Huawei did not disclose details, but experts estimate that such stockpiles could last at least until early 2021 and possibly through most of next year.
It is also worth noting that Honor’s latest gaming notebook Hunter, unveiled on Wednesday, is powered by US tech giant Intel Corp’s chipsets.
Wang Rui, vice-president for the sales and marketing group at Intel, was also present at Honor’s launch event on Wednesday. Wang said that China’s gaming community is thriving and the high-quality notebook market offers huge opportunities.
It was not immediately clear whether Honor had stocked enough Intel processors for the new gaming personal computers or whether Intel would find a way to obtain a license from the US government to continue shipping its products to Huawei in the future.
Honor is also working to diversify its chip suppliers for its notebooks. In July, Honor unveiled its latest MagicBook notebooks, which are powered by US tech giant AMD’s Ryzen processors.
Market research company International Data Corp said in its latest report that during the second quarter of the year, the traditional PC market, comprising desktops, notebooks and work stations, saw an 11.2 percent year-on-year growth in global shipments to 72.3 million units.
Demand for computing products rose during the COVID-19 epidemic period as more people are now working from home, IDC said.