Chinese electronics giant Huawei during an online event on Thursday released its new flagship Mate40 Series—the Mate40, Mate40 Pro, Mate40 Pro+, and a Porsche Design Mate40 RS—along with new wireless headphone FreeBuds Studio, smartwatch Watch GT2 Pro, and smart speaker Sound. While the company is still facing regulatory hurdles in the US, pre-orders for the Mate40 Series in China, which started on Friday, suggest a strong start.
The basic Mate40 has a smaller 6.5-inch screen with a 1080p resolution and a Kirin 9000E processor while the Pro and Pro+ boast 6.76-inch 90Hz OLED displays and the more powerful Kirin 9000 chipset. According to Huawei, the Kirin 9000 chip is the world’s first and most advanced 5nm 5G processor, utilizing an 8-core CPU and 24-core GPU. Both Pro and Pro+ will also have better camera performance—with a 50-megapixel main camera, 20-megapixel ultrawide, and a periscope camera—as well as 4,400mAh internal batteries and 50W wireless charging capability. The Porsche Design version is inspired by the iconic sports car, with top specs that align with the Pro+.
The Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ is priced at USD 1,655, the Mate 40 Pro at USD 1,418, and Mate 40 at USD 1,063, while the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 40 RS will cost USD 2,715. They are more expensive than Apple’s latest iPhone 12 line where prices range from USD 699 to USD 1,099, with Chinese versions from RMB 5,499 to RMB 11,899.
“Huawei is at a very difficult time,” said Huawei’s consumer business CEO Richard Yu at the end of the conference, reiterating the pressure from US regulators. Huawei’s semiconductor manufacturing partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) plans to discontinue supplies to Huawei due to US restrictions, which will likely end the production of Kirin chips, Yu said in August.
As Huawei is still blocked out of the Google Mobile Services (GMS), the tech giant also introduced its own Petal Search and Maps as alternatives, available in its app store that have already over 500 million monthly active users (MAUs), according to the company.
Healthy demand in China
The launch of the Mate40 Series was very welcome in China. In a Weibo poll, 322,000 netizens chose the new Huawei device, while 169,000 voted for the iPhone 12. Pre-orders for the Mate40 models on JD.com, Taobao, and Huawei’s official online shop sold out shortly, although prices of the Chinese Mate40 haven’t been disclosed yet. The iPhone 12 also had a robust start with pre-orders surpassing 150,000 units within 3 days of its release.
US sanctions have left Huawei scrambling, and growth has slowed down sharply. According to its third-quarter earnings reported on Friday, revenues increased 9.9% year-on-year (YoY) to RMB 671.3 billion (USD 95.87 billion). This compares to a 24.4% rise in the same period last year. The gross profit margin also dropped to 8.0% from 8.7% a year ago.