Despite US ban, Huawei posts 18% growth and ships 240 million phones

Undeterred by the controversy surrounding its US ban, Chinese tech giant Huawei posted resilient growth in 2019. The company's smartphone business, which reached the milestone of 200 phone shipment mark in 2018, outdid itself this year by posting a respectable 40 percent growth year-over-over.

According to a Forbes report, Huawei chairman Eric Xu's internal New Year's message has been shared with select media. In the internal memo Xu states that the company's revenue has topped 850 billion Yuan (approx. $122 billion) this year. The figures are a new record for the Chinese tech firm and an 18% increase over the previous year.

Huawei sold 240 million phones in 2019

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Xu also mentioned that the company had managed to sell 240 million phones in 2019, which is higher than the estimated 185 to 190 million phones that Apple has sold according to analyst reports. Xu said: "These figures are lower than our initial projections, yet business remains solid and we stand strong in the face of adversity," indicating the US and Google services ban.

This is indeed a great achievement for the company which is currently facing a ban in one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world, the US.

Growth next year could be challenging

However, the internal memo shared by the company's CEO cautions growth next year could be challenging. The top executive acknowledged that Huawei is confronting a "strategic and long-term campaign" against its business by the US government. He fears that if the campaign continues for long, it will be difficult for Huawei to "survive and thrive."

Survival first priority

He also said that "survival" will be the company topmost priority in 2020. Huawei was added to the US Department of Commerce's blacklist by the Department of Justice earlier this year, placing restrictions on the company's ability to sell its products in the country and maintain commercial relations with American companies including Google, which supplies Android and other services under it's Google Mobile Services (GMS). The US government claims that the company is a threat to national security and that it has been spying for Chinese intelligence.

5g tower
Representational image of a 5G tower Business Wire

Meanwhile, the US allegations and ban don't seem to have had a major impact on the companies sales and revenue as evidenced by the figures. But the CEO's internal message shows indications of difficult times ahead and the use of terms such as "survival" suggests that Huawei knows the consequences and that it will be difficult for the company to maintain its growth rate in 2020 without Google's support.

To recall, in 2018 Huawei shipped an estimated 200 million phones globally to become the second largest smartphone brand in terms of number of units sold, by beating Apple.

This year's growth is a testament that Huawei is still loved by consumers across the world. But whether the love and support will continue in 2020 when Google's services could get pulled out of Huawei phones remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Huawei recently announced that its Google replacement apps and services are almost ready and will grace upcoming Huawei phones in the next year.

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