Huawei counters ‘political forces’ with record sales

BEIJING • Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s consumer chief dismissed US “political forces” and attempts to crimp the company’s growth, saying sales of smartphones and other devices surged by about 50% to a record US$52 billion (RM215.28 billion) in 2018.

Consumer division president Richard Yu yesterday called reports of Huawei spying for China “fake news” and said its product launch schedule for 2019 remains on track. The outspoken executive, speaking to reporters after helping to unveil two in-house developed chipsets for 5G wireless gear, waved off concerns the equipment could be employed in espionage.

“The concerns all came from the political guys making noise,” he said, brushing away a public relations executive who tried to end the briefing.

Huawei faces mounting scrutiny as Washington convinces a growing list of allies to blacklist its networking equipment. Billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei broke years of public silence last week to dismiss US accusations the closely held telecoms giant helps Beijing spy on Western governments.

It’s unclear whether that pressure has affected business. Ren said the company’s 2019 revenue is expected to top US$125 billion, while Yu said smartphone shipments rose 35% to 206 million units in 2018. He expects 5G to drive sales this year and propel Huawei’s goal of becoming the world’s No 1 smartphone maker after surpassing Apple Inc last year. — Bloomberg