Huawei says impact of U.S. trade restrictions less than feared

Pedestrians walk past a Huawei store in Beijing

Pedestrians walk past a Huawei store in Beijing

During the event, the company's deputy chairman Eric Xu spoke to the press and repeated its stance that U.S. sanctions won't hurt the company as much as it is believed.

Huawei is still keen on developing alternatives in response to sanctions on the American technology it needs to make its gear, Xu said.

The company also announced the launch of MindSpore, an AI computing framework that supports development for AI applications in any scenario.

"It seems it is going to be a little less than that", Huawei deputy chairman Eric Xu said this week at a news conference, noting that its smartphone business is doing "much better" than originally expected.

The launch comes nearly a year after Huawei first announced last October plans to release a full suite of AI products including chips, development toolkit, and cloud services. Everything is moving forward according to plan, from R&D (research and development) to product launch.

He added, "We also believe it is not very likely for Huawei to be relieved from such a working state". In 2018, Huawei's revenue from devices business stood at almost $50 billion.

Ascend 910 is Huawei's new artificial intelligence (AI) processor that belongs to the series of its Ascend-Max chipsets. As part of the announcement, Huawei claims that this is the most powerful AI processor in the market.

The Chinese company officially unveiled its self-made operating system, Harmony OS, in China earlier this month, saying it could be used on its new phones if access to Google's Android OS is permanently cut off.

Given that one of its goals is to create an AI "ecosystem", Huawei has high hopes for the Ascend 910.

Huawei said the AI framework handled only gradient and model data that already had been processed, so user privacy could be maintained.

Huawei's product introduction could be seen as its second notable move to counter its inclusion on the USA "entity list".

But while the company is investing heavily in AI, it was not planning on becoming an AI company, Xu said.

Huawei sees AI as the next general-purpose technology, like electricity or computing, that will be deployed right across the economy.

"No matter what the US does now, Huawei is on a mission to become self-sufficient and not beholden to the whims of the USA president", The Wall Street Journal quoted Bernstein analyst Mark Newman as saying.

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