Photo by Doruk Bayram on Unsplash

You’ve got to admire the optimism. Huawei chairman Guo Ping is clearly a man who doesn’t so much view the glass as half empty, but simply brimming with potential: why stop at filling it with water? Water is cheap! The glass can hold anything from Chanel No. 5 to scorpion venom! 

Or maybe he’s just putting on a brave face to try and calm some presumably quite worried employees. Either way, he’s expressed his belief that Huawei will come back and claim the smartphone throne at some point.

“Everyone knows that phone chips need advanced technology in a small size with low power consumption,” Guo told employees in a company Q&A, according to a transcript seen by Reuters. “Huawei can design it, but no one can help us make it: we’re stuck.”

This refers to the handiwork of former President Donald Trump, who ensured that Huawei was blacklisted from doing business with American companies on national security grounds. That means no working with Qualcomm or Google, and the latter proved especially damaging, as it meant no access to YouTube, Gmail, Chrome or Google Play Store on Huawei’s phones. That’s something of a problem for a phone maker that previously enthusiastically used Android.

Still, Guo remains optimistic. Or deluded, depending on your level of cynicism.

“Huawei will continue to exist in the field of mobile phones and with continuous advances in chip production, the smartphone throne will eventually return,” he continued.

While CNBC has a slightly different translation of the transcript, the word “throne” crops up in both, so it doesn’t seem to be down to linguistic ambiguity. Huawei may have gone from being the third biggest smartphone manufacturer in 2019 to joining the likes of Motorola, HTC and Sony in the ‘others’ category now, but it’s sleeping, not dead.

Of course, sleeping giants tend to be tricky to wake up. Nokia is showing signs of stirring, but is nowhere near its mid 90s ubiquity, and BlackBerry has more than a little of a Weekend at Bernie’s vibe about its revival attempts. For Guo’s prediction to come true, the company will need to outdo both of them and then some.