Huawei has a big problem with the popular Mate 60 5G smartphones: there’s not enough supply to meet growing demand

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“Production capacity can’t meet demand, which is the reason Huawei is doing pre-orders,” said Counterpoint Research senior analyst Wang Yang, adding that presales help buy some time for Huawei to secure orders from its suppliers.

Wang also indicated that the secrecy surrounding the advanced Kirin 9000s processor used in the Mate 60 Pro has complicated how Huawei’s supply chain partners have conducted parts provision, a lengthy process that typically takes between 12 to 18 months before a device is launched.

In an unusual move for a product that was already launched, Huawei last week introduced a subscription programme for the Mate 60 Pro that promised a wait time of no more than 90 days after consumers place their orders via the scheme on its official website. Each consumer can only buy one unit, while orders will be shipped in a random sequence within a 90-day time frame.

A pair of Huawei Technologies’ Mate 60 Pro 5G smartphones are shown on display inside a store in Xian, capital of northwest Shaanxi province, on September 9, 2023. Photo Shutterstock
Some consumers who joined that scheme shared their order status on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, where they showed that promised delivery ranged from as early as this month to February next year.
Shenzhen-based Huawei’s return to the 5G smartphone market and the lengths it must go to rebuild that once-highly profitable business show that the company still faces plenty of challenges ahead to overcome years of struggle on account of US trade sanctions.

Eight weeks since its launch in August, the Mate 60 series has recorded 2.4 million units in domestic sales volume, according to Counterpoint data.

A separate estimate by research firm Canalys showed that total Mate 60 shipments from the end of August to November 7 reached up to 2.5 million units, with the premium 5G Mate 60 Pro comprising more than 60 per cent of that volume.

Huawei’s 5G handset business continued its strong momentum in the just-concluded Singles’ Day shopping season, with sales estimated to rank third among smartphone vendors in the festival’s first week of promotions, according to Counterpoint.

Tech war takes a new turn as Huawei pushes 5G smartphones with mystery chip

“Huawei benefited from the sustained popularity of the Mate 60 series and some older models – especially in the mid-range and budget segments, which saw significant price reductions or subsidies – resulting in impressive sales figures [during that period of the Singles’ Day festival],” Counterpoint senior analyst Ivan Lam said.

“But it’s also worth noting that the Mate 60 series continued to experience supply shortages, which prompted limited daily sales,” he said.

Huawei’s biggest suppliers have been ramping up recruitment of assembly line workers to meet the rising orders for the Mate 60 Pro handset.

Chip maker SMIC’s sales fall for third straight quarter despite Huawei boost

“SMIC is, at worst, only a handful of years behind TSMC, and at most, only a few years behind Intel and Samsung, despite [US government] restrictions,” Patel wrote in the report.

Patel said he believed that the supply shortages affecting Huawei’s Mate 60 series reflect the huge demand for its first 5G smartphones in more than two years, rather than a sign that yields deficiency at SMIC has become a bottleneck in terms of ramping-up production of these handsets.

Huawei posts 2.4% revenue growth in first 9 months on back of Mate 60 series launch

Meanwhile, the eight-week sales volume of Huawei’s Mate 60 series has surpassed the four-month, 1.8-million-unit performance of the 4G Mate 50 series, which was launched in September last year.
The Mate 40 series sold 2.6 million units in China within four months of its release. By comparison, the Mate 30 series released in September 2019 sold 7.5 million units over the same time span, according to Counterpoint. It forecast total shipments of the Mate 60 series could reach 4 million units over a four-month span since its launch.

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