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Huawei says US trade ban is a ‘big difficulty’ to selling phones

Huawei says US trade ban is a ‘big difficulty’ to selling phones


The US government ‘is not willing to talk’

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Huawei’s revenue grew by 19.1 percent last year to around $121 billion, but the company says those numbers would be far higher if the United States had not cracked down on its ability to do business. Due to a trade ban initially ordered last May, Huawei is unable to acquire US parts and software or sell its products in the US. That has cut the company out of an important market and hurt its ability to compete outside of China.

“The consumer business has been the major business for our growth,” said Vincent Pang, president of Huawei’s western Europe business, in a call with reporters to discuss the company’s 2019 financial results. He called 2019 a “big challenge” for the company.

“That gave us a quite a big difficulty.”

While Huawei never had a substantial presence with consumers in the US, the trade ban still hurts Huawei’s ability to compete abroad. It’s unable to buy new laptop processors from Intel, and flagship phones like the P40 and the Mate 30 Pro can’t offer Google’s apps or Google’s app store, making them nonstarters for many customers. “That gave us a quite a big difficulty” in growing smartphone sales, Pang said.

Though the trade ban has yet to go into full effect, it’s likely to remain an obstacle for the foreseeable future. The US government “is not willing to talk with us” about removing the trade ban, said Andy Purdy, Huawei’s chief security officer. “We hope at some point we can participate in those conversations.”

Huawei also said growth in enterprise businesses, like servers, which rely on Intel chips, and big data analysis, which relies on those servers, is hurt being hurt by the ban.