Even so, according to the Nikkei, expectations for Huawei phone production in 2021 have dropped hugely. The company is said to have informed its suppliers that orders for smartphone components will drop by more than 60-percent this year, insiders have leaked. Compared to the 189 million smartphones shipped in 2020, it now expects to produce 70-80 million handsets this year.
It's not just the scale of the orders which have been impacted, but the types of phone they're for. Component demand is limited to those required for 4G phones, it's said, since 5G modems still can't be imported. Huawei was given permission in November of last year to import 4G modems from Qualcomm, but not the American chip-maker's 5G versions.
Huawei has declined to comment on the leaks, which also suggest orders could end up falling to around 50 million units. However, it's not the first time we've heard of ominous forecasts for the company's phone business. In early January 2021, for example, independent research predicted the Chinese firm may only be able to build around 45 million devices.
While protesting the sanctions, and its innocence amid accusations of close involvement with Chinese government security services, Huawei has also been trying to figure out workarounds. Rumors have suggested it's considering selling off its flagship phone brands – something Huawei has strongly denied – on the assumption that the combination of blacklisting and broader global shortages for electronics components will pinch its handset business even further.