(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. largely omitted mention of its controversial Mate 60 smartphone series at a grand showcase of its new consumer products on Monday.
The Shenzhen-based company will increase smartphone production in response to demand, said consumer division chief Richard Yu, without naming the handset triggering that surge. The Mate 60 Pro earned international notoriety with its advanced made-in-China processor last month, causing concern in Washington about Huawei’s progress toward developing in-house chipmaking capabilities despite US trade curbs.
Huawei’s new phones have fired up the company’s sales and were among the top sellers in China in the week before Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone launch. They are the first 5G-capable handsets that Huawei’s put on sale since the Trump administration’s sanctions cut it off from advanced tech suppliers. That connectivity is provided by the 7-nanometer Kirin 9000s processor inside — made by Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. — which is accompanied by a broad range of China-made components inside each phone.
In another step toward self-reliance, Huawei did away with its longstanding partnership with Porsche Design, appointing instead Hong Kong celebrity Andy Lau as a brand ambassador to promote what it now calls Ultimate Design models. Huawei provided a seconds-long glimpse of such a limited-edition variant of its Mate 60, and showed off its flagship MatePad tablet and new smartwatches. Yu spent much of his time on stage benchmarking the MatePad Pro against Apple’s iPad Pro, underscoring Huawei’s aspiration to measure itself against the world’s best.
The Chinese company also touted its own semiconductor design used in a new set of wireless earbuds, though it did not provide details of the chip.
Huawei’s presentation, at home in Shenzhen, was done in front of a giant graphic display and an audience of fans. The company has avoided fully detailing the exact specifications of its new phones, and it also excluded international media from this and another company event this month. While Yu did not acknowledge the phones by name, he repeated a line that became a catchphrase around their launch — that Huawei wants to be “leading far ahead” — which the crowd chanted several times during the event.
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