After weeks of vehement denials, Huawei has confirmed plans to sell its ‘Honor’ smartphone brand following backbreaking US sanctions that made it almost impossible for the company to carry on with its consumer smartphone business. While the US administration has since seemingly softened its stance and allowed Qualcomm to sell its chips to the Chinese tech giant, the damage apparently has already been done.
According to a joint statement issued by 40 companies involved in the deal, the popular budget smartphone brand is being sold to a newly-created consortium that includes over 30 agents and dealers including China Telecom and several government-backed entities such as the Shenzhen Smart City Development Group.
As per the report, the buyers will be setting up a new company, called Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, to make the purchase, but Huawei will not hold any stake in it. According to Reuters, the statement claimed that the sale represents a “market-driven investment made to save Honor’s industry chain” and the change in ownership will not impact Honor’s development direction.
While the official statement didn’t reveal a valuation for the deal, a recent report from Reuters suggested that it could be worth as much as 100 billion yuan ($15.2 billion). Earlier estimates put the valuation at a much more modest 15-25 billion yuan (~$2.2 billion – $3.7 billion). That particular report also claimed that Chinese tech giants, TCL and Xiaomi, were also looking to get in on the deal, although, that doesn’t seem to have happened.
The first reports about Huawei’s plans to sell its Honor brand emerged last month when Chinese tech blog, IT Home, published a similar report citing noted TF International Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo. The report, however, was met with vehement denials from the company, forcing the blog to eventually retract the story.