China’s Huawei says 2021 sales down, profit up | lifestyles

By JOE McDONALD – AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei said Monday its sales grew 76% in 2021 despite U.S. sanctions.

Huawei’s chief financial officer was released by Canadian authorities last year, ending a standoff with Washington over the tech giant’s deals with Iran. The company is caught amid tensions with Washington over technology and security.

American officials say Huawei, the largest maker of network equipment for phone carriers, is a security risk that could allow Chinese espionage, an accusation the company denies.

Huawei Technologies Ltd., China’s first global technology brand, increased its focus on serving hospitals, mines and other industrial customers after its smartphone business, once one of the largest, was hit by Washington-imposed restrictions on access to US components and others The technology was paralyzed in 2019.

The company reported revenue of 636.8 billion yuan ($99.9 billion) in 2021, down 28.6% from 2020. Profit rose 75.9% to 113.7 billion yuan (US$17.8 billion).

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“Our overall financial resilience will be strengthened,” CFO Meng Wanzhou said at a news conference at Huawei’s headquarters in the southern city of Shenzhen. “The company is better able to deal with uncertainty.”

Meng, the daughter of the Huawei founder, was arrested in Canada in 2018 on US charges of lying to Hong Kong banks about doing business with Iran. Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians in a bid to force Canada to release them.

Meng was released in September under a deal with the US Department of Justice that dropped the charges in exchange for taking responsibility for misrepresenting Huawei’s dealings with Iran. The two Canadians were released after Meng returned to China.

In a cursory reference to her arrest, Meng said, “In the few months since I came back, I’ve been trying to catch up.”

Founded in 1987, Huawei says it is owned by Chinese employees who make up half of its workforce of 195,000 people in 170 countries and regions.

Sanctions by then-President Donald Trump blocked Huawei’s access to US processor chips and other components, as well as Google’s music, maps and other services for smartphones. The White House tightened those restrictions in 2020 by blocking global manufacturers from using US technology to make Huawei-designed chips.

Huawei responded with an increased emphasis on its Chinese home market and on electric and self-driving cars, industrial networks and other applications that are less vulnerable to US pressure.

The company sold its lower-priced smartphone brand, Honor, to a state-run investment group in November 2020 in hopes of reviving sales by separating it from sanctions against the parent company. Honor received US government permission to resume buying processor chips and other technology.

Huawei said its industrial and government customers generated sales of 102.4 billion yuan ($16.1 billion) in 2021. The company said it has launched products for transportation, finance, energy and manufacturing, as well as dedicated teams for coal mines, ports and “smart road.”

The unit, which serves phone and internet providers, had sales of 281.5 billion yuan ($44.2 billion).

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