Huawei Technologies said on Tuesday December 31 that it expects 2020 to be a "difficult year" when its growth was probably weaker than expected in 2019. The Chinese telecoms giant has been hit since May by US sanctions disrupting its supplies .
The American accusations
The United States considers the world's number one telecom equipment and the world's second largest smartphone maker to pose a national security threat due to the possibility for Chinese authorities to hijack its products for espionage.
Huawei has consistently rejected these accusations, but Washington has in fact been preventing it from obtaining supplies from American companies since May, blocking access to essential components such as Google's Android operating system.
Slower growth than in 2018
The Chinese group estimates that its turnover in 2019 increased by 18% to 850 billion yuan (109 billion euros), a slower growth than in 2018, when it had reached 19.5%.
In a New Year message to employees and customers of the group, Eric Xu, who holds the rotating presidency of Huawei, predicted that 2020 would be a "difficult year".
"The external environment has become more complicated than ever and the downward pressure on the world economy has intensified," said Eric Xu. "In the long term, the US government will continue to hinder the development of advanced technologies, a difficult environment for Huawei's survival and prosperity," he added.
240 million smartphones sold
Huawei sold 240 million smartphones this year, a 20% increase over 2018, said Eric Xu. Most of the devices sold are models launched before the American sanctions.
Comforting news nonetheless: India has decided to let "all participants", including Huawei, take part in tests to deploy the 5G network on its huge local market, which is scheduled to start up this month next.
With Reuters (Brenda Goh; French version Bertrand Boucey)