In brief

  • Huawei's Mate 40 smartphone comes with an in-built hardware wallet for China's digital currency.
  • The release follows China's recent public experiment with digital currency in Shenzhen.
  • China has been working on a central bank digital currency since as early as 2014.

Huawei’s new smartphone, the Huawei Mate 40, supports an in-built hardware wallet for China’s central bank digital currency, the digital yuan or DCEP (Digital Currency, Electronic Payment). The smartphone is reported as the first of its kind that enables a hardware wallet for the Chinese digital currency.

The smartphone delivers hardware security and anonymity, and is reportedly also capable of initiating transactions while offline.


The announcement that the new smartphone will come with a digital yuan hardware wallet comes after China’s public trial of the central bank digital currency.

Earlier this month, nearly two million Shenzhen residents signed up to take part in a digital yuan experiment. Those who signed up enjoyed a distribution of 50,000 digital gift envelopes that contained 200 yuan each.

This was reported as the first time China had experimented on digital currency with the general public, yet China has been laying the groundwork for a central bank digital currency since as early as 2014.

Huawei’s Android swansong

As a result of US sanctions restricting access to some of the advanced tech required to make these smartphones, the Mate 40 may be the last Android-powered Huawei smartphone.

Notably, the smartphone’s Kirin 9000 chip is made by a Taiwan-based manufacturer, whose partnership with the tech giant has now been forced to end as a result of sanctions.


More obvious to the everyday user, US sanctions have also restricted Huawei software from using Google’s core services, such as YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Play store.

Huawei Mate 40 specs

The Huawei Mate 40 takes inspiration from the previous Mate 20 model. Weighing in at 188g, it sports a 6.5in 1080 x 2376 OLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and curved edges, alongside a 5nm Kirin 9000 5G chipset, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

The phone’s rear “Space Ring Design” camera array arranges a 50 megapixel f/1.9 main camera, a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens in an eye-catching circular design. Round the front there’s a dual-lens 13MP ultrawide camera alongside a 3D depth sensor, powering the Mate 40’s face unlock system.

Among other technological highlights, the phone features a fingerprint reader under the display, while its battery life has impressed—with one reviewer saying the Mate 40’s 4,400mAh battery  “gets me through 12 to 14 hour days with 25 per cent power to spare.”

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