Huawei begins sales of the new Pura 70 smartphone despite scrutiny over semiconductors.

Chinese technology giant Huawei started selling two models of its highly anticipated, high-end Pura 70 smartphone series on Thursday that many analysts expect to contain an advanced China-made chip like its Mate 60 handset.

The Pura series made by the Shenzhen-based startup boasts superior cameras and is noted for its sleek style, whilst the Mate series focuses on performance and business capabilities.

The launch of Huawei’s Mate 60 series last year was hailed by Chinese state media as a victory over US sanctions on the company, as the handsets feature an advanced China-made chip that is only a few generations behind cutting-edge chips used by Western tech behemoths such as Apple and Google in terms of computing power.

Huawei teased the Pura’s release this week through a rebranding effort that renamed it from just “P”.

The Pura 70 series includes four models: the 70, 70 Plus, 70 Pro, and 70 Ultra. The Pura 70 series’ initial price is 5,499 yuan ($760.06).

Customers can purchase the Pro and Ultra models starting Thursday, while the Plus and base versions will be available on April 22.

Just a minute after sales began, the Pro and Ultra variants were out of stock on Huawei’s own online site. Hundreds of Huawei fans have waited up at flagship locations across the country, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

When Reuters visited the flagship store in Shenzhen on Thursday, almost 100 clients in queue were given glasses of water while waiting for their purchases. Buyers at the Shanghai store were asked to open the box and register the gadget, possibly to prevent buyers from reselling the phones for a greater price.

Huawei officials also informed some of the fans in queue that there was no assurance they would be able to receive the smartphone on Thursday due to overwhelming demand.

Huawei’s smartphone sales increased dramatically after the Mate 60 Pro was released in August of last year. According to Counterpoint Research, Huawei’s unit sales increased by 64% year on year in the first six weeks of 2024.

Ivan Lam, a senior analyst at Counterpoint, predicted that Huawei will ship approximately 60 million units this year, with the Pura 70 series serving as a key impetus. Last year, Huawei sold approximately 32 million handsets.

“Initial sales are projected to be very good. There may be minor shortages across various channels. However, supplies will be lot better than when the Mate 60 was released. “We don’t expect a long-term shortage,” he said.

Huawei’s Kirin 9000S chip was purportedly fabricated by China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), despite US export restrictions aimed at limiting Beijing’s chip-making capabilities.

It was seen as a sign of China’s technical rebirth, despite Washington’s continued efforts to impair its capacity to make advanced semiconductors.

The Biden administration began reviewing the chip early this year and stated last month that SMIC may have broken US export restrictions, though it was still assessing the case. Questions have been raised regarding whether SMIC illegally got U.S. tools to manufacture the chip.

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