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Huawei Recruits Smartphone Partners to Sidestep U.S. Sanctions

  • It could license designs to third parties to access components
  • Trump-era sanctions have cut off Huawei from U.S. technology
Huawei Technology Co. Launch Mate Xs Folding Phone
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Huawei Technologies Co., whose smartphone business has been devastated by U.S. sanctions, is planning to license its handset designs to third parties as a way to gain access to critical components, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

The Shenzhen-based tech giant is considering licensing its designs to a unit of state-owned China Postal and Telecommunications Appliances Co., or PTAC, which will then seek to buy parts barred under the Trump-era blacklisting, said one of the people, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters. The unit, known as Xnova, is already selling Huawei-branded Nova phones on its e-commerce site and the partnership will see it offer self-branded devices based on the larger company’s designs.