Huawei Starts Sales of New Pura 70 Smartphone to Crowds amid Chips Scrutiny

A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)
A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)
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Huawei Starts Sales of New Pura 70 Smartphone to Crowds amid Chips Scrutiny

A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)
A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)

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 developed by the Shenzhen-headquartered company has advanced cameras and is known for its sleek design, while the Mate series emphasizes performance and business features.
The launch of Huawei's Mate 60 series last year was celebrated by Chinese state media as a triumph over US sanctions on the firm, as the handsets contain an advanced China-made chip that is considered only a few generations behind cutting-edge chips used by Western tech giants like Apple and Google in terms of computing power.
Eric Xu, Huawei's acting chairman, on Wednesday told a forum in Shenzhen that the company also plans to roll out a Mate 70 smartphone this year.
The Pro and Ultra versions of the Pura 70 were available on Thursday, while the Plus and base versions will begin sales on April 22. The phones were out of stock at Huawei's official online store just a minute after sales started, and hundreds of the brand's fans lined up at Huawei stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
One customer, Lucas Zhuang, tested the network speed of the Pura 70 and said it was at the level of 5G. Washington has banned the licensing of 5G chips to China but Huawei's Mate 60 phones were already able to achieve 5G speed in many cases despite Huawei not branding it as 5G.
"We didn't know what chip the Pura 70 has inside. We only found out after we bought it," Zhuang, who already owns the Mate 60, told Reuters after waiting in line at Huawei's flagship store in Shanghai.
"But we believe ... the chip it has will certainly meet people's needs."
Ivan Lam, a senior analyst at research firm Counterpoint, said he expected shipments of about 60 million units from Huawei this year, with the Pura 70 series being an important catalyst. Last year, Huawei sold about 32 million smartphones.
"There may be some shortage at various channels but supply will be much better compared to when the Mate 60 was launched. We don't expect any longlasting shortage," he said.
The Pura 70 series has four variants: the 70, the 70 Plus, the 70 Pro and the 70 Ultra. The starting price for the Pura 70 series is 5,499 yuan ($760.06).
CHIP CHALLENGE
The launch of the Mate 60 Pro last August sparked a spike in Huawei's smartphone sales. According to Counterpoint, in the first six weeks of 2024, Huawei saw unit sales rise by 64% year-on-year. Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone sales in China fell 24% during the same period.
Huawei’s Kirin 9000S chip was reportedly manufactured by China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) despite US export restrictions seeking to limit Beijing's chip-making capabilities.
It was seen as a symbol of China's technological resurgence despite Washington's ongoing efforts to cripple its capacity to produce advanced semiconductors.
The Biden administration began a review of the chip earlier this year and said last month that SMIC might have violated US export rules, while adding it was still evaluating the situation.
Besides targeting China's chip manufacturers, the US has imposed trade restrictions on Huawei since 2018, viewing the company and its products as a national security risk, which the company denies.
Elaborating on the pending Mate 70 smartphones on Tuesday, Xu said the goal is for it to use a "pure" version of its HarmonyOS operating system, developed in 2019 after US sanctions cut Huawei's access to US technologies such as Google's Android.
HarmonyOS had still been reliant on the Android application ecosystem but Huawei plans to cut that relationship and make HarmonyOS completely independent and able to compete with Apple's iOS and Android, he added.



Tencent Finds New Hit in ‘Dungeon and Fighter’ Mobile Game After Dry Spell 

The Tencent Games logo is seen on its game on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2024. (Reuters) 
The Tencent Games logo is seen on its game on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2024. (Reuters) 
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Tencent Finds New Hit in ‘Dungeon and Fighter’ Mobile Game After Dry Spell 

The Tencent Games logo is seen on its game on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2024. (Reuters) 
The Tencent Games logo is seen on its game on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2024. (Reuters) 

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings' mobile game "Dungeon and Fighter" was the top-selling app on Apple's App Store in China this week, surpassing the company's existing flagship games after it spent years looking for a new marquee title.

The side-scrolling action game, developed by South Korea's Nexon and published by Tencent, became the top-selling app in China hours after it was launched on May 21 and it has stayed there since, according to app tracking platform Appmagic.

Tencent's "Honor of Kings" and "Peacekeeper Elites" have long been China's most popular games but they have recently shown signs of declining revenue as their popularity ebbed.

Globally, "Dungeon and Fighter" mobile ranked as the world's second top-selling app last week, only behind short video platform TikTok and ahead of Honor of Kings and YouTube, which came in third and fourth, according to Appmagic.

The video game is estimated to have earned more than $40 million in revenue on Apple devices after receiving over 2.4 million downloads, according to Appmagic.

Robin Zhu, senior analyst at Bernstein, said that Appmagic's number aligns with data recorded by another app tracking firm called Sensor Tower.

But he said that the game actually makes more money because the $40 million figure was only Tencent's and Nexon's cut, excluding Apple's share of the revenue.

"Gross billings-wise, the Sensor Tower data suggests you're looking at 1.2 to 1.5 billion yuan ($206.95 million) of receipts since launch," he said. Gross billing refers to the gross amount that users have spent on the game.

He said that "Dungeon and Fighter" mobile's strong performance is on track to meet Nexon's expectation of 3 billion yuan in gross billings during the game's first month of launch.

Officially named "Dungeon and Fighter: Origin", the game is a mobile adaptation of the "Dungeon and Fighter" computer game, one of the world's most profitable computer games which Tencent also publishes.

The game, under development for seven years, was released in South Korea in 2022 and became an instant hit. But its China release was delayed after the government cracked down on the gaming industry between 2018 and 2022.