Huawei is scrambling to quash reports that it's selling off its flagship P and Mate series, as US trade restrictions are seemingly forcing it out of the premium smartphone arena.
Huawei has already had to sell off its Honor brand under pressure from sanctions driven by US national security concerns. The move was good for the Honor youth brand, which was bought by a government-backed consortium, giving it a chance to survive outside of Huawei's portfolio.
But the latest rumors suggest things are going from bad to worse, as Huawei looks to sell its P and Mate series to Shanghai government-backed investment firms, with talks stretching as far back as September.
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One of Huawei's many struggles right now is its Kirin chip supply, so offloading Honor avoided watching the brand flail and die. This move is reportedly triggered by the same motivation, according to two sources that Reuters spoke with, who are close to the matter.
The company's stash of Kirin chips is predicted to run dry this year, and Huawei's Richard Yu has already said that restrictions could see the production of the SoC stop altogether.
The loss of the brands would be a blow to Huawei, with the P and Mate series responsible for 40% of Huawei's sales in Q3, 2020. However, Huawei has heard about the rumors doing the rounds and has spoken out against their validity:
"Huawei has learned there are unsubstantiated rumours circulating regarding the possible sale of our flagship smartphone brands. There is no merit to these rumours whatsoever. Huawei has no such plan."
The Shanghai government also denied knowledge of such a situation, providing no further comment.
Huawei's smartphones are some of the best phones in the premium tier category, with the likes of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro and Huawei P40 but the lack of Google services has had an undeniable effect on its smartphones' desirability. What the future holds for the brand is uncertain, as a new US President takes office. If the absence of Google services doesn't bother you, or you're confident that Trump's policies will be reversed, you can check out our roundup of the best Huawei phones.