Huawei Profits Jump 19 Percent in 2019, Facing Fresh Tests Amid Trade War, COVID-19 Pandemic - Execs

© REUTERS / Nacho DoceA cameraman records during Huawei stream product launch event in Barcelona, Spain February 24, 2020.
A cameraman records during Huawei stream product launch event in Barcelona, Spain February 24, 2020. - Sputnik International
The world's largest telecoms equipment provider released figures from sales revenues across numerous divisions on Tuesday, with high-level executives weighing in on the company's performance amid US trade restrictions and the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Huawei Technologies reported "solid business performance" in its 2019 Annual Report, with revenues increasing 19.1 percent year-on-year (YoY), it was revealed at press conference on Tuesday.

Global sales topped $123bn USD (858.8 Chinese yuan), with net profits reaching $9bn, or 62.7bn yuan, according to the report, and cash flows from operating activities were roughly $13.1bn (91.4 yuan), up 22.4 percent YoY.

The company also invested 15.3 percent of its total 2019 revenues, totalling $18.9bn, into research and development (R&D), with total spending over the past ten years exceeding $86bn (600bn yuan). 

RuralStar base stations connected around 40m users in remote rural communities across 50 countries and regions worldwide, totalling $42.5bn (296bn yuan) in revenues for the firm's carrier business wing, up 3.8 percent YoY, it was reported.

Huawei's enterprise business wing supported the digital transformation of over 700 cities and 228 Fortune Global 500 companies according to figures, as well as establishing numerous joint 5G innovation centres globally.

The world's fastest AI processor, the Ascend 910, also debuted in addition to the Atlas 900 AI training cluster, with revenues from enterprise business solutions topping $12.8bn, up 8.6 from the previous year.

Roughly 240m smartphones from its consumer business division were shipped in 2019, further developing its Seamless AI Life ecosystem with increased integration across laptops, smart screens, wearables and others, the company reported, adding that revenue sales from consumer business also jumped 34 percent YoY, totalling $66.9bn (467.3).

An 'Extraordinary Year' For Huawei Despite Pandemic, US-China Trade War - Rotating Chairman

Speaking at the company's annual report press conference on Tuesday, rotating chairman Eric Xu said that 2019 was an "extraordinary year" for the company, adding that "business remains solid".

"Despite enormous outside pressure, our team forged ahead with a singular focus on creating value for our customers. We worked hard to earn their respect and trust, as well as that of our partners around the globe," he said.

External environments will become "more complicated" as Huawei moves forward, Mr Xu cautioned, adding that the Chinese tech giant needed to "keep enhancing the competitiveness" of products and services, as well as "promoting open innovation".

"This is the only way we can seize the historic opportunities presented by the digital and intelligent transformation of industries, and maintain robust growth in the long run," he added.

Liang Hua, Chairman of the Board, said that 2020 "may prove to be an even greater challenge", but urged adapting to "long-standing" trade restrictions imposed by the Trump Administration after being placed on an Entity List in May last year, while also addressing impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Nevertheless, we are fully confident in what the future holds. We will stay the course and continue creating value for our customers and the broader global community," the chariman said.

Artificial Intelligence, R&D Boosts Vital In Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic

Huawei vice president Victor Zhang said that the company's immediate priority was to "work with partners and customers to ensure broadband and mobile networks remain reliable" as people keep in touch amid the coronavirus outbreak.

He added: "After twenty years working with customers here in the UK, we are doing what we can to help combat [COVID-19], by keeping people connected. Like others, we are ready to assist in any way we can."

Speaking on the company's performance in 2019, Mr Zhang said that Huawei was focused on creating value for customers and "maintaining the trust they've placed in us", adding that it was "more important than ever" to work with operators, partners and local communities, to "ensure technology can benefit everyone in the UK".

Speaking to Sputnik, Mr Zhang said that Huawei's increased efforts in R&D were helpful in the fight against the global coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Zhang said: "In China, we have already started working with researchers, namely in biomedicine, to make sure we have the AI technologies to accelerate their work. We are also discussing with researchers in the UK on whether they are interested in working with Huawei, using our AI capabilities to support their research.

He added that such efforts were not "linked to our marketing strategy, but a part of our free offer to support" global efforts to tackle the crisis and improve medical research.

Commenting on its Mobile World Congress and P40 Series product launches, which were diverted online due to the ongoing outbreak, Mr Zhang said: "We received positive feedback on [both] product launches, and many customers are looking forward to the new features in our products", he said, citing new camera and AI technologies.

Demand for 5G phones was also growing, and the firm was "definitely looking forward to working with global supplies, including partners in the US, to deliver the best value to consumers", he concluded.

Huawei has been embroiled in an ongoing trade war after US authorities accused the Chinese tech giant of spying for the Chinese government, among other allegations, which both the company and Beijing have sharply and strongly denied.

Despite the challenges, the company reported sharp growth across its consumer and 5G sales in February whilst launching its P40 Series of smartphones in March, revealing minimal US components and its proprietary Mobile Services ecosystem aimed at lowering dependence on US tech companies like Google and Microsoft.

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