Huawei sales up 18% but US pressure signals tough times ahead

Chinese tech giant Huawei said its sales rose by a lower-than-projected 18% in 2019 and predicted tough times ahead as the US moves to restrict its business.

The flash sales estimate came in an annual New Year’s message to employees.

Chairman Eric Xu warned that mediocre managers would face demotion as the telecom giant and leader in 5G mobile technology focuses on survival.

“It’s going to be a difficult year for us,” he wrote, calling on the company’s more than 190,000 employees “to work hard and go the extra mile to bring their capabilities to a new level”.

No-one is predicting Huawei’s demise. The unlisted company, a major maker of both mobile transmission equipment and handsets, estimated 2019 sales would rise to more than 850 billion yuan (£91 billion).

“These figures are lower than our initial projections, yet business remains solid and we stand strong in the face of adversity,” Mr Xu wrote in the letter, which was released to the AP and other media.

Huawei, based in the tech hub of Shenzhen in southern China, typically releases its official and audited annual financial results in March.

The US government says Huawei technology poses a security risk and has urged other countries not to buy its 5G mobile network equipment.

Huawei
The US government has said the Chinese tech giant poses a security risk (Steve Parsons/PA)

It has also put Huawei on its entity list, blocking US technology sales to the company. Huawei denies the allegation.

Calling difficulty the prelude to greater success, Mr Xu said America’s “strategic and long-term” campaign against Huawei is an opportunity to build up some muscle and build capabilities to navigate future challenges.

He wrote: “Despite concerted efforts by the US government to keep us down, we’ve made it out the other side and continue to create value for our customers.”

The five-page letter exhorts employees to hone their skills and rid themselves of complacency.

Saying that survival is the company’s top priority, Mr Xu warns that mediocre managers “who have lost their enterprising spirit” will be removed faster than before.

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