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  • Huawei's new Honor 20 smartphone at a product launch event in London, May 21, 2019.

    Huawei's new Honor 20 smartphone at a product launch event in London, May 21, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 May 2019

Huawei snagged 15.7 percent, particularly excelling in Europe and Greater China, where sales grew by 69 and 33 percent respectively.

Despite having been blacklisted by the United States government, Chinese company Huawei Technologies remains the world's second-largest smartphone seller in the first quarter of 2019, according to market research firm Gartner.

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The South Korean technology giant Samsung retained its top spot in worldwide smartphone sales, obtaining 19.2 percent of market share. While Huawei snagged 15.7 percent, particularly excelling in Europe and Greater China, where sales grew by 69 and 33 percent respectively. The U.S. company Apple maintained third place with 11.9 percent of the market.

The Chinese company achieved the highest year-over-year growth among the world's top five which includes Samsung, Huawei, Apple and other Chinese makers OPPO and Vivo, in stark contrast to Samsung and Apple's ongoing decline since the first quarter of 2018. 

Yet as many have warned, the "unavailability of Google apps and services on Huawei smartphones, if implemented, will upset Huawei's international smartphone business which is almost half of its worldwide phone business," Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner reiterated.

This comes as the Trump administration added Huawei Technologies to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the company to do business with U.S. counterparts.

In compliance with this measure, Google announced that Huawei would immediately lose access to updates to Google’s Android operating system. The next version of its Android smartphones, supposedly, will also lose access to popular services including the Google Play Store, Gmail and YouTube apps.

Yet the next day, with markets reacting poorly to the news, the U.S. Commerce Department seemed to roll back, offering a temporary general license and restoring Huawei’s ability to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets. The license lasts until Aug. 19 and eases restrictions imposed last week. 

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Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that this is a classic example of Washington using its state power to unjustifiably suppress Huawei without any factual basis,  adding that "it is typical economic bullying." Nevertheless, the Chinese government has pledged full support for national companies. 

Huawei founder and chief executive officer Ren Zhengfei have said that the company is “prepared,” assuring users that the company “will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.”

While Richard Yu, the head of Huawei's consumer division, told CNBC that the company's own operating system could be ready to replace Google and Microsoft operating systems by early 2020.

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