Huawei NZ deputy chief executive Andrew Bowater is urging customers not to return their phones after Google said it would follow a White House order to suspend technology exports to the Chinese phone maker.

Q&A: Google's Huawei ban - what it means for your Android phone

Google makes the Android software that runs Huawei phones, and runs the Play Store used to deliver many of their apps.

Huawei NZ deputy chief executive Andrew Bowater. Photo / Supplied.
Huawei NZ deputy chief executive Andrew Bowater. Photo / Supplied.

"New Zealanders can have every confidence that their Huawei phones still work with Google Play, and they will continue to receive security and Android updates," Bowater said this afternoon.


"We will continue to support our customers and there is no need to panic or return anything to retailers. The phones Kiwis have already bought are not impacted by Google's announcement and the same is true for all phone in stock with retailers.

"It's a shame for New Zealand consumers they've been caught up in this game, but we're working through the long term impact of Google's announcement.

"The main thing to understand is that the products we have sold and are currently selling are not impacted by this announcement."

Google has said it will continue to support existing Huawei devices.

However, the US tech giant says it is still reviewing the implications of the Trump Administration's export ban for future models of Huawei phone, and future upgrades.

US chipmakers like Intel, Broadcom and Qualcomm have also been banned from supplying technology to Huawei for its handsets or telco infrastructure - including gear for 5G mobile network upgrades - which could slow the Chinese giant's hardware efforts.

Just how the ban will play out is still not clear.

As things stand, As things stand, it seems unlikely future Huawei phones will be certified for the Google Play store, and that while they could have a bare-bones version of Android, they could miss out on key features like Google Maps, cloud storage with Google Drive, YouTube, Google Photos and Google Duo video calls.


Many of these services could still be accessed via a phone's web browser, but it would be a lot more finicky than using Android apps.

Consumer NZ technology reviewer Hadyn Green posted soon after the ban was announced, "If you live in New Zealand and the Huawei phone that you purchased no longer connects to the Play Store, and/or no longer receives security updates: you get a refund under the CGA [Consumer Guarantees Act]."

Bowater's message this afternoon: It hasn't come to that - at least not yet.

Although he did not comment on the politics of the decision, a Huawei UK executive earlier today did, saying it was about trade politics, not cyber-security:

"We're in the middle of a trade war between two big countries so the timing of this is to inflict maximum hurt on our organisation. We're a football in between this trade war," he said.

Meanwhile, a yet-to-be confirmed Reuters report today says the US government will delay the ban for 90 days.

On the US side, there have apparently been fears of job losses that could run into the tens of thousands, given Huawei buys about US$11b a year from American hardware suppliers.

On the Chinese side, there have reportedly been hits that the country could restrict the export of some of the rare earth elements used in high tech manufacturing.