Originally set to hit the U.S. market with the tagline, “The best mobile phone you’ve never heard of,” Huawei’s new flagship smartphone — the Mate 10 — may likely be one that U.S. consumers will never be able to buy. Citing a person “familiar with the situation,” CNET reported yesterday that Best Buy will stop selling the Chinese company’s devices over the next few weeks.
That decision marks the latest blow to efforts by Huawei, currently the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor, to establish a foothold in the U.S. The company had planned to announce the arrival of the Mate 10 in the U.S. earlier this year, but saw those hopes dashed by a last-minute pullout by AT&T in January. Verizon followed suit a few days later.
Best Buy’s decision comes amid growing suspicion of China-based technology companies by U.S. trade and intelligence officials. Under President Donald Trump’s “America First” strategy, the U.S. has announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and has blocked two recent corporate deals involving Asian companies on the grounds of national security.
Despite its number three spot in the global smartphone market and numerous accolades for its other wireless technologies, Huawei has faced U.S. scrutiny over the trustworthiness of its devices. In 2012, for example, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence concluded in an investigation that government technology systems shouldn’t use components from Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese company.
“Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems,” the committee report stated. Under a proposal made by Republicans last month, the U.S. government would be prohibited from buying or leasing equipment from Huawei or ZTE….