25th September 2023 – (Beijing) Chinese telecommunications and smartphone giant Huawei held its highly anticipated fall season launch event on Monday, but left fans disappointed by not revealing any details about its new phone or reported advanced chip breakthrough. However, the event did feature a surprise appearance by renowned Hong Kong celebrity Andy Lau, who emerged as the brand ambassador for Huawei’s new high-end brand, Mate 60 RS “ULTIMATE DESIGN.” The announcement sparked discussions on social media, with “Andy Lau Extraordinary Master” trending as the second most popular topic on Weibo.
During the event, Andy Lau promoted Huawei’s debut “Mate 60 RS” smartphone, and photos of him at the venue circulated among mainland Chinese internet users, with many expressing their intention to purchase the phone. Some netizens speculated that Lau’s decreased appearances as a villain in films were due to his new role as a brand ambassador.
While Huawei did not unveil its new phone, the company did tease two electric cars—a sedan and a high-end SUV—and introduced new wireless earbuds, among other products. The wireless earbuds, priced around 1,499 yuan (US$205), feature Huawei’s Kirin A2 chip, according to the company.
The absence of the phone disappointed many internet fans, despite earlier indications from Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu that no further details would be disclosed during the event. The event, livestreamed in Mandarin, sparked patriotic fervor among the audience, both online and in-person. It commenced with an orchestral and choral performance of a song titled “My Dream” in Chinese, and included Andy Lau giving a short speech about Huawei’s luxury watch design.
Although the event aimed to create a positive atmosphere showcasing Huawei’s and China’s technological capabilities, the lack of a tangible phone announcement left viewers wanting more. Huawei did, however, unveil a new smartwatch, a lighter and thinner tablet compared to the iPad, and a stylus that connects to the tablet using Huawei’s NearLink technology.
Interestingly, Huawei’s silence on its new phone launch coincided with the delivery of Apple’s iPhone 15 in China. The event also comes on the heels of Huawei quietly releasing its Mate 60 Pro smartphone, which reportedly boasts 5G-like download speeds thanks to an advanced semiconductor chip.
TechInsights analysis revealed that the Kirin 9000s chip inside Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro was manufactured by China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation using a cutting-edge 7-nanometer process. This indicates that Huawei can leverage advanced technology despite U.S. restrictions. However, it remains unclear whether older machines or alternative procurement processes were involved in the chip production, as the company did not comment on TechInsights’ findings.
Huawei’s consumer business revenue has been significantly impacted by U.S. sanctions, which severed the company’s access to critical smartphone technologies such as semiconductors and Google software. The Trump administration initiated the restrictions in 2019, citing national security concerns related to alleged ties between Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party and military. Huawei has consistently denied any such association.