Image: Reuters

Huawei unwanted: Asian shops shun phone trade-ins on Google suspension worries

Mobile phone retailers in some Asian countries are refusing to accept Huawei devices for trade-ins, as more consumers look to offload their device on worries Google suspending business with the Chinese firm will disrupt services.

Google has said it will comply with an order by U.S. President Donald Trump to stop supplying Huawei, meaning current owners of Huawei phones face being cut off from updates of the Android operating system from late August. New phones will lose access to popular apps such as YouTube and Chrome.

Against this backdrop, some customers in Singapore and the Philippines have rushed to sell their Huawei phones, according to retailers and online marketplace data.

But there are few takers.

“If we buy something that is useless, how are we going to sell it?,” said Dylan On, a salesman at Wanying Pte Ltd, a Singapore retail and repair shop.

“It’s not that Huawei is a bad product. It’s a very good product. It’s just that nobody wants to buy it now because of U.S. policy,” he said, adding he was looking to sell existing Huawei stock online to overseas buyers in hopes they are less aware of current events.

When contacted by Reuters, a Huawei spokeswoman said the company “will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products”.

The company said previously it is developing its own phone software and it can still use an “open source” version of Android that lacks access to Google apps. Huawei also went ahead with a new phone launch in Britain on Tuesday, even as the number of users trading in their devices rose in Asia.

Previously, about five people a day were looking to trade in their Huawei phones, but that has jumped to 20 in the last two days, said Zack, a salesman at Mobile Square in Singapore who declined to give his last name.

“Normally, you would see people wanting to trade their old phones as they want to replace them with new ones,” he added. “Now you’re seeing people wanting to trade in the latest one.”

Carousell, Singapore’s most popular online marketplace, said the number of Huawei phone sales more than doubled the day the U.S. order was announced.

Huawei smartphones had a 14% share of the Singapore market last year, according to research firm Canalys.

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