Huawei has announced record financial results for the last year. The company’s revenue increased to $105 billion, a 20 percent annual rise, while profit was up by 25 percent to $8 billion. The New York Times notes that the results put Huawei in the same league as Google and Microsoft, which both passed the $100 billion milestone last year.
The strong results were driven by a massive 45 percent growth in revenue from Huawei’s smartphone division. Its consumer electronics unit as a whole made up almost half of the company’s revenue for the past year, generating around $52 billion in revenue off the back of flagship phones such as the Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro.
“Cybersecurity and user privacy protection are at the absolute top of our agenda”
Revenue from Huawei’s carrier technology division was weaker. Reuters notes that revenue from this unit fell by 1.3 percent last year, although Huawei explained that the fall was caused by telecoms investment cycles. Huawei isn’t a publicly traded company, but publishes audited financial results annually. Intense worldwide scrutiny of the company could lead to more challenges for this division in the future however, especially if Huawei’s equipment gets banned for use in forthcoming 5G networks.
The US is currently considering a ban, while a report produced by a UK government watchdog raised serious concerns about Huawei’s cybersecurity practices. Australia has also banned the use of the company’s equipment in its next-generation network, while the EU will leave the decision up to its individual member states.
Huawei has repeatedly denied allegations that it would be willing to spy on behalf of the Chinese government, and has said it takes privacy and security seriously. In today’s earnings release it said that, “cybersecurity and user privacy protection are at the absolute top of [its] agenda.”
The company’s rotating chairman Guo Ping admits that criticism from the US government has caused “a certain amount of trouble” for the company, but he is keen to downplay these concerns. He likens the US to a rude dinner party guest. “We Chinese would say that they don’t mind their table manners,” Guo said, “I feel very sorry for these so-called gentlemen.”