China's Huawei Technologies will unveil its new offerings -- including a foldable, 5G-ready handset on the eve of Mobile World Congress, which kicks off on Monday in Barcelona.
Huawei, the world's No. 3 smartphone maker by shipments behind Apple, will unveil its latest premium P30 handset on Sunday, as well as the Balong 5000 series smartphone equipped with 5G baseband developed by HiSilicon offering both 5G capability and a foldable OLED screen. The company is is trying to challenge smartphone market leader Samsung Electronics.
Balong 5000 series smartphone equipped with 5G baseband developed by HiSilicon during the trade show next week
Huawei is incorporating more advanced camera features into its new handsets.
While most smartphone makers are reportedly scaling back orders amid a general industry downturn, Huawei appears to be doing the opposite. Camera lens providers Sunny Optical and Largan Precision have seen orders from Huawei increase 30% on the year this quarter.
Display driver circuit provider provider Novatek , Chunghwa Precision Test Tech, which provides core processor testing services, and fingerprint chip designer Goodix have all seen demand from Huawei pick up since the end of last year.
Hon Hai Precision Industry is assembling the Chinese tech giant's mobile phones.
According to reports, Huawei is also seeking to expand the component suppliers for its smartphones beyond the top-tier suppliers that rival Apple also uses. This is a result of the pressure the company is receiving from the U.S. government.
In January, lawmakers in Washington introduced a bill aimed at banning chip exports to Chinese companies that violate U.S. sanctions and export control rules, citing Huawei and ZTE by name. This follows U.S. moves to tighten controls on the export of advanced technologies to China, including microprocessors and artificial intelligence.
Market watchers predict that Huawei will for the first time overtake Apple as the second biggest smartphone maker this year.
Huawei also plans to demonstrate its latest 5G networking solutions at the event, which are priced on average 30% below those of its smaller rivals, Ericsson and Nokia.
Despite the U.S. pressure to Huawei, the U.K. and Germany have indicated they might not ban the Chinese company from their markets.
Foldables and 5G will be the be major themes at the MWC. Chinese ZTE, Xiaomi and Oppo will also showcase their latest developments in these areas and expand their footprints overseas.
ZTE plans to unveil in Barcelona its 5G flagship device which is scheduled to roll-out in the European and Chinese markets in the first half of 2019. ZTE's latest Blade V10 Series will also be introduced. It will host a 5G summit on Monday to promote its network equipment business.
Xiaomi, the world's No. 4 smartphone maker, made its MWC debut at the 2018 event, and entered European markets such as France, the U.K. and Italy that year. In Barcelona, it will unveil the international edition of its new Mi9 and a 5G edition of its Mix 3.
In January, Xiaomi's co-founder and President Lin Bin released a video online showing a prototype of a phone that can be folded in three, transforming it from a tablet-sized device to a compact phone.
Oppo, the world's No. 5 smartphone maker, will demonstrate at MWC its camera and 5G technology, but does not plan to announce any new devices. Oppo confirmed it will introduce a 5G phone this year and has filed patents for the technology.