Huawei Unwanted: Asian Shops Shun Phone Trade-Ins on Google Suspension Worries

May 23, 2019 Updated: May 23, 2019

SINGAPORE/MANILA—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 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.

“… Nobody wants to buy it now ….,” he said, adding he was looking to sell existing Huawei stock online to overseas buyers in hopes they are less aware of current events.

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 percent share of the Singapore market last year, according to research firm Canalys.


Mobile phone retailers in the Philippines are also staying away from Huawei products.

“We are no longer accepting Huawei phones. It will not be bought by our clients anymore,” Hamida Norhamida, a saleswoman of new and used phones in Manila’s Greenhills shopping center told Reuters, adding that she felt relieved to have sold off her stock of Huawei P30 Pro ahead of Google’s announcement on May 20.

Another phone salesperson at Greenhills said she would only buy Huawei phones at a 50 percent discount.

“Selling it will be a gamble,” said the saleswoman, who would give her name only as Thelma.

Earlier on Wednesday, Japanese telcos KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp’s low-cost mobile brand Ymobile said they would delay the launch of Huawei P30 Lite smartphone which was due to go on sale on Friday.

By Fathin Ungku & Neil Jerome Morales