It’s going to get harder for Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to sell its smartphones in the US. Huawei is no stranger to the scrutiny that it has been facing in the US, for quite a few years now. But things really started to change for the Shenzhen-based smartphone maker this year.
Best Buy, the nation’s largest electronics retailer, has ceased ordering new smartphones from Huawei and will stop selling its products over the next few weeks.
The move is a critical blow to Huawei, which is the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor behind Apple and Samsung but has struggled to establish any presence in the US.
Best Buy was one of Huawei’s biggest retail partners, and one of the rare places you could see its unlocked smartphones, laptops and smartwatches in person. Huawei’s Android-powered phones aren’t sold by any US carriers, which is how a majority of Americans typically buy their phones.
The retailer will also stop selling its laptops and smartwatches. Best Buy made the decision to end the relationship, the person said. The retailer didn’t provide any additional details.
“We don’t comment on specific contracts with vendors, and we make decisions to change what we sell for a variety of reasons,” said a Best Buy spokeswoman.
A Huawei spokeswoman called Best Buy a valued partner. But “as a policy, we do not discuss the details of our partner relationships,” she said.
With AT&T and Verizon dropping deals to sell its Mate 10 Pro smartphone just days before CES – where Huawei was due to announce the fact that the phone would be available at both carriers.
Instead, Huawei had to opt for announcing that the Mate 10 Pro would be available unlocked in the US for $799. Huawei isn’t the only Chinese manufacturer that is having trouble in the US, ZTE is also having issues, and it’s business is essentially the same as Huawei.
In the grand scheme of things, Best Buy dropping Huawei’s products probably won’t affect Huawei’s sales numbers in the US, seeing as Amazon and Newegg are still selling its products – at least at the time of writing this.
It’s likely that Amazon sells far more Huawei smartphones than Best Buy, though that is not confirmed, since those specific numbers are not made public by either the retailers or Huawei. But Best Buy was the only physical store that you could walk into and actually see a Huawei smartphone, so that could have a big affect on Huawei’s business in the US.