Huawei manages to sell a whole bunch of phones despite US ban

Trump's ban hasn't stopped the Chinese company from shipping 185 million phones so far in 2019.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
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Sean Keane
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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

Érika García / CNET

Update, Oct. 23: The Huawei Mate X was released, but only in China so far. Original story follows.

Huawei is still on shaky ground in the US, but that hasn't stopped the embattled Chinese phone maker from shipping 185 million phones in the first three quarters of 2019. That represents a year-on-year increase of 26%, the company said in a Tuesday release.

The electronics heavyweight also generated revenue of 610.8 billion yuan ($86 billion) -- a 24.4% increase year over year -- even after predicting a $10 billion sales reduction for its phone division during the summer as a result of its blacklisting by the US Commerce Department.

In addition, Huawei signed more than 60 commercial contracts to provide 5G networking equipment to carriers around the world, like Malaysian telecom Maxis, it noted.

Watch this: Huawei unveils Mate 30 series phones

Earlier this year, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei reduced the company's overall 2019 revenue estimates from $130 billion to $100 billion, citing the US ban. 

In May, the Commerce Department blacklisted Huawei following an executive order from President Donald Trump that effectively banned it from US communications networks. It required American companies to get a license to do business with the Chinese telecom giant, which is the subject of national security concerns due to its links to the Chinese government.

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The ban impacted Huawei's latest flagship phones -- for instance, its Mate 30 devices shipped without full support for Google's Android. Instead, they use Android open source, which means they don't have Google services (like Play Store) or apps (like Chrome or Maps). Since a workaround was apparently eliminated, Mate 30 owners have to use Huawei equivalents instead, which could hurt its phone sales in future.

Huawei snatched Apple's spot as the world's No. 2 phone-seller back in 2018, but earlier this year tempered expectations that it'll overtake Samsung to become the world's biggest vendor in 2019.

First published at 4:20 a.m. PT.
Updated at 5 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.