By Yelin Mo and Brenda Goh
BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Huawei Technologies kicked off a product launch event on Monday by thanking China for its support amid expectations the tech giant, hit by U.S. restrictions, would later reveal more details on its new Mate 60 smartphone series.
The Mate 60 series, launched without any fanfare last month, has been hailed by Chinese state media as a sign that Huawei has overcome U.S. sanctions that since 2019 has cut its access to advanced chipmaking tools and crippled its smartphone business.
Huawei has stayed mostly mum on the full capabilities of the Mate 60 series, but users and analysts who bought the Mate 60 Pro say it has a Chinese-made chip and is capable of 5G speeds.
Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, started Monday’s showcase with a “special thanks to the whole nation for their tremendous support, especially since the (Mate 60 Pro) Pioneer Program was launched”.
As Yu spoke, members of the audience chanted “far, far ahead” – a phrase that has gone viral on Chinese social media since the Mate 60 Pro’s launch as a take on Huawei’s competitiveness.
“Our products have been well-received and trusted by everyone after hitting the market. We are working overtime urgently to manufacture more so that more people can buy our products,” Yu said at the event being held in a stadium in Shenzhen and broadcast live across Huawei stores, 156 local media and Chinese social media platforms.
Yu went on to announce the launch of a new tablet product called the MatePad Pro 13.2, and also announced the roll-out of a new ultra, high-end brand called ‘Ultimate Design’, whose products include a Mate 60 RS smartphone and a smartwatch.
At Huawei’s flagship store in Beijing, dozens of shoppers watched the event on a big screen, breaking into applause when Yu stepped on to the stage.
The event takes place on the two-year anniversary of Huawei rotating Chairwoman Meng Wanzhou’s return to China.
She returned in 2021 after a nearly three-year detention over alleged attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran in breach of U.S. sanctions.
The extradition drama became a source of discord between Beijing and Washington. Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was allowed to return home after reaching an agreement with U.S. prosecutors.
(Reporting by Yelin Mo and Brenda Goh; Additional reporting by Sophie Yu in Beijing; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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