Huawei exec: We need more time to become the world’s top phone maker

A woman cycles past a Huawei store in Shenyang, China.

Stringer | Reuters

China’s Huawei Technologies will need more time to become the world’s largest smartphone maker, a goal it originally aimed to achieve in the fourth quarter of this year, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

“We would have become the largest in the fourth quarter (of this year) but now we feel that this process may take longer,” said Shao Yang, chief strategy officer of Huawei Consumer Business Group, without elaborating on reasons.

Huawei currently sells 500,000 to 600,000 smartphones a day, he said in a speech at the CES Asia technology show in Shanghai.

The comments come after the United States put Huawei on a blacklist last month that bared it from doing business with U.S. companies on security grounds without government approval, prompting some global tech companies to cut ties with the world’s largest telecommunication equipment maker.

The company in January said it could become the world’s biggest-selling smartphone vendor this year even without the U.S. market. It was the second-biggest vendor in the first quarter, behind South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, according to research and advisory firm Gartner.

Analysts estimate the recent U.S. sanctions could push Huawei’s smartphone shipments down as much as a quarter this year and cause its handsets to disappear from overseas markets.

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