Posted on Jul 9, 2021 9:40 AMUpdated on Jul 9, 2021, 10:27 AM

Sitting in the café at the Hôtel du Louvre, opposite the Comédie-Française, William Tian is smiling and relaxed on this sunny Thursday morning. Yet the pressure on his shoulders is enormous. A month ago, the former boss of Huawei in Germany was bombed president of the smartphone business for all of Europe of the Chinese giant. Right when Huawei is struggling against US sanctions that have hit it hard on the Old Continent.

The Chinese industrialist’s market share has melted like snow in the sun since its smartphones can no longer automatically carry “app killers” such as Facebook or WhatsApp, nor obtain automatic updates from Android. The former world number one now only holds 2% of the telephony market in Western Europe, against 20% at the peak of 2018, according to Strategy Analytics. At the end of 2020, Huawei was even forced to sell its entry-level brand, Honor.