Huawei issued a strenuous denial of media reports claiming it was in talks to sell its flagship smartphone brands to a consortium backed by the regional government in Shanghai.

In a statement, a representative for the smartphone manufacturer said the claims were unsubstantiated: “There is no merit to these rumours whatsoever. Huawei has no such plan. We remain fully committed to our smartphone business, and will continue to deliver world-leading products and experiences for consumers around the world.”

The comments came swiftly after Reuters reported Huawei was in early stage talks to sell its Mate and P-series brands, citing the move as one which could signify its exit from the high-end smartphone market.

In its report, the news website stated the potential buyer is a consortium led by a Shanghai-government backed investment entity, with the plan said to be partly due to Huawei’s problems sourcing chips during ongoing US restrictions.

The speculation follows Huawei’s divestment of its budget-focused Honor brand. Following the sale, Honor is reportedly able to access components and software Huawei is currently banned from acquiring.

Huawei generally releases two sets of flagship smartphones every year, with its P-branded handsets in March and Mate handsets launched in September or October.