Huawei may have found a buyer for its Honor smartphone business

Reports claim one of the investors is the Shenzhen government.

Huawei may sell its budget technology brand to a coalition of buyers that includes major partners and even the local Shenzhen government. Reuters is reporting that Honor, the low-er end arm of Huawei’s sprawling tech conglomerate, will be sold in its entirety for an all-cash price of $15.2 billion. As well as Shenzhen, the buyers include Digital China, a distributor and Huawei partner, as well as private investors.

The terms of the deal mean that Honor would hold its own brand, research and development facilities, as well as its own supply chain. Presumably the intention is to sell the company as a going concern so that it can be free from Huawei’s own influence, at least right now. The report claims that, as with longstanding rumors of a Honor sale, that Honor was spun out (at least on paper) in preparation for a sale in April.

Representatives for both Huawei and Honor offered us a standard “no comment.”

After several years of ever-tightening sanctions, Huawei is becoming something of a pariah in the west, blocked from working with several key partners. That includes Google, for the Google Play layer over Android and, crucially, TSMC, the Taiwanese chip maker with bleeding-edge manufacturing capabilities. Honor, despite protestations that it is a separate business, is under the same regime as its corporate parent.

It’s likely that a sale will, at least in theory, mean that it can, once again, use US affiliated technology and software. If, at least, regulators are happy that there’s enough distance put between the company and its former parent.