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China telcos, gadget plays roar onstage

By CHENG YU | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-28 09:39
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A visitor tests Huawei vision glasses during the Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, Spain on Feb 27, 2023. [Photo/VCG]

Huawei, Honor, Xiaomi among tech firms strutting stuff at MWC 2023

Banking on 5G and other cutting-edge technologies to explore new business opportunities and offset COVID-19 disruptions, Chinese tech companies are making a big splash at the Mobile World Congress 2023, which kicked off in Barcelona, Spain on Monday.

Among the 2,000 exhibitors and sponsors attending this year's four-day agenda-setting event for the tech and telecommunications industry, some 150 Chinese companies, including Huawei Technologies Co, personal computer maker Lenovo and telecom giant China Mobile are participating in the event, said the event's organizer GSMA.

"Differing from the low-key styles of Chinese tech firms during previous exhibits, this year, the companies are more willing to tell their stories and share their experience in areas where China has built up obvious advantages, like 5G," said John Hoffman, CEO and director of GSMA.

Huawei, for instance, is displaying 5.5G, an evolution of 5G technology. The company said the technology, with the number of maximum connections up to 100 billion, is able to deepen digital and intelligent transformation by offering a ubiquitous 10-gigabyte-per-second experience.

China has taken the lead in global 5G development. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, by the end of 2022, more than 2.3 million 5G base stations had been built in China.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, said: "Chinese tech companies have faced some pressure due to COVID-19-related impacts and suppression from the US government in chips in recent years. As the situation is getting better, it is time for them to display and grab more share in international markets. To some extent, the presence of Chinese companies at the event and the holding of the MWC will bring better products to global consumers and drive the international market to recover this year."

According to market consultancy International Data Corp, smartphone shipments fell 11.3 percent last year globally, with the biggest drop of 18.3 percent in the final quarter.

To invigorate the market, an array of Chinese smartphone vendors are making a splash at the MWC with new device launches, as they seek a wider presence in Europe and beyond to offset the negative impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smartphone maker Oppo is displaying its latest foldable Find N2 Flip, a clamshell-style foldable handset that could pose a challenge to Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 4, at the exhibition.

Honor's foldable smartphone Magic Vs also made its debut in overseas markets at a product event on Monday, intensifying competition with South Korea's Samsung.

Zhao Ming, president of Honor, said this year the company will ratchet up resources to explore offshore markets.

"Our growth momentum in overseas markets will be particularly strong in 2023 after the company had made good progress in staffing its overseas team and building its retail channels in foreign countries. We will enter a stage of rapid development and growth in overseas markets," Zhao said, highlighting that the company will "blossom" in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and other regions.

On Sunday, Xiaomi Corp's Mi 13 series made its Europe debut during an event in Barcelona, Spain, which marked the company's latest push to expand its presence in the premium smartphone segment.

This is also the first time for Xiaomi and Leica, a well-known German camera maker, to co-appear as partners on the international stage.

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