Huawei’s handset division is reportedly negotiating with two domestic retailers to license its smartphone designs to bypass US sanctions.
Bloomberg reported that state-owned China Postal and Telecommunications Appliances and TD Tech, both of which currently sell Huawei handsets, plan to market devices featuring Huawei designs under their own brands.
The deals are intended to give the local companies access to chips made using US technology, and the plan is for Huawei to generate additional revenue from the handset unit in spite of the fact that it has been cut off from global chip supplies.
This is not the first time Huawei has suggested licensing its technologies. In September 2019, founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei announced it would consider selling access to its 5G technologies to a company based outside Asia to ease concerns about spying.
The company’s revenue for the first nine months of 2021 fell by almost a third year-on-year, with handset sales plunging after divesting sub-brand Honor to avoid toughened trade sanctions from the US.
Huawei handsets used to be in the top three on the global handset shipment and sales market share reports, but has for more than a year now fallen off the radar and has been replaced by local rivals such as Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo.
Last week, President Joe Biden signed a law that prevents Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE, from receiving licenses from regulators to sell equipment in the US. The Secure Equipment Act targets companies seen as national security threats.