Huawei primed for growth from new smartphone and HarmonyOS

Debut of the new Pura 70 series shows Huawei is fully confident in 5G handset chip supply.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

April 19, 2024

2 Min Read
(Source: Huawei)

When Huawei's last flagship smartphone was ready to debut just eight months ago, the Chinese tech giant dropped it online without any fanfare. The Mate series, as we now know, was Huawei's breakthrough 5G-level product powered by its homegrown 7nm chip in defiance of US sanctions and expectations.

Huawei showed much less reticence about its latest flagship, the Pura 70, which launched Thursday in a blaze of publicity.

The arrival of the Pura series, initially retailing at between 6,500 and 10,000 Chinese yuan (US$898 and $1,381), tells us last year's breakthrough was no fluke and dispels doubts that Huawei and manufacturing partner SMIC won't be able to maintain the supply of the advanced chips.

At the time it was kneecapped by US sanctions five years ago, Huawei's handset business was flying, having grown revenue nearly threefold in four years. It shipped 240 million units in 2019 to become one of the world's top five handset brands, raking in RMB483 billion ($66.7 billion) and accounting for 54% of Huawei's total revenue.

Now handsets look set to become a growth engine again. Boosted by the Mate 60 launch, Huawei's consumer device revenue grew 17% last year. Unit shipments in the first six weeks of 2024 were up 64% over 2023, says Counterpoint.

HarmonyOS a priority

Still, for all its importance, Pura did not feature at all at the Huawei analyst summit Wednesday, which took place a day ahead of the device launch. Instead, the biggest talking point was another big part of Huawei's global device strategy, HarmonyOS.

Huawei's current rotating chairman Eric Xu declared that growing the HarmonyOS ecosystem was one of its key objectives in 2024.

Harmony began as an Android-based OS for thin IoT clients, but since US sanctions began it has been progressively developed into a full-featured platform for smartphones, PCs and other devices.

The next upgrade, Harmony Next, due to be commercially available in Q4, will be a definitive fork from Android. It won't support Android apps, which is why Huawei's focus now is on porting the top 5,000 Chinese Android apps to its OS, according to Xu.

He said more than 4,000 of these were already in the process of moving to Harmony.

"This is a massive undertaking, but we have broad support in the industry and from many app developers. Once we have these first 5,000 Android apps – and thousands of other apps – up and running on HarmonyOS, we will have a real HarmonyOS: a third mobile operating system for the world," he said.

After building up HarmonyOS in China, Huawei will expand it to other parts of the world, Xu said.

At end-2023 Harmony was deployed on more than 800 million devices, giving it a 4% global market share and a 16% share in China.

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech ( 

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