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Sanctioned Huawei says sales are down 29% this year

Chinese telecom giant Huawei said on Friday that its annual sales had fallen by nearly a third from the previous year as it continued to be weighed down by US sanctions that hit smartphone sales.

Huawei has been caught in the crossfire of a trade and technology rivalry between the US and China after the administration of former President Donald Trump crippled the company over concerns it could pose a cybersecurity and espionage threat.

The company’s revenue for this year fell 29% year-on-year to 634 billion yuan ($99.5 billion), rotating chairman Guo Ping said in an annual New Year’s message.

“In 2021, despite all the trials and tribulations, we have worked hard to create tangible value for our customers and local communities,” said Guo.

“We have improved the quality and efficiency of our operations and expect to complete the year with total sales of 634 billion yuan.”

He added that the telecom carrier segment had “remained stable” and that “overall performance was in line with our forecasts.”

Huawei’s sales fell in 2021, partly due to the divestment of its budget phone brand Honor, which was sold at the end of last year.

Huawei is not publicly listed and the release did not provide any other financial details.

Guo said the company was on a “bumpy, but rewarding” road, adding that 2022 will come with “quite a few challenges”.

Huawei’s trials and tribulations have forced it to quickly switch to new lines of business, including enterprise computing, wearables and health technology, intelligent vehicle technology and software.

Once a top three smartphone producer, Huawei has fallen in the smartphone rankings. Photo: Future Publication/Getty Images

The United States has barred Huawei from purchasing critical components such as microchips and forced Huawei to create its own operating system by cutting it off using Google’s Android operating system.

This month, the company launched a new foldable phone and said 220 million Huawei devices were using its HarmonyOS system.

The group is the world’s largest supplier of telecom network equipment and was once a top three smartphone maker along with Apple and Samsung.

But it has fallen far below the smartphone rankings due to US pressure.

In October, the group said its January-September sales volume was down 32%.

But a major complication for the company was resolved this year with the return to China of Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

She was under house arrest in Canada for nearly three years on a US extradition warrant, which China said was politically motivated.

Meng was released a month ago after US prosecutors announced an agreement that would suspend and eventually drop the fraud charges.