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The U.S. dealt Huawei a potentially existential blow in August 2020, when it announced sanctions that would sever the telecom giant and smartphone maker’s access to the critical semiconductor chips it uses in all its devices. The measure cost Huawei its once-dominant position in China’s smartphone market, cutting its Chinese phone sales in half in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020. In total, losses in Huawei’s consumer business led to a 16.5% decline in the company’s year-over-year revenue in the first quarter of 2021. But Huawei is far from dead and has forged ahead using existing stockpiles and by sourcing some chips from Chinese firms. In June, Huawei launched its own operating system, HarmonyOS, to compete with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, as well as a series of new phones, tablets, and smartwatches powered by the software. Huawei has endured additional setbacks as countries like the U.K. have omitted the firm’s technology from their 5G networks over national security concerns. Still, the firm continues to build out China’s massive 5G network and is beginning to roll out its equipment in Africa.
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