Beijing: Chinese tech giant Huawei on Friday that its annual profit jumped 25 per cent to 59.3 billion yuan ($8.8 billion) in 2018, but reported negative growth in its carrier business — a potential sign of strain in the face of a US-led campaign against the company. Sales increased by 19.5 per cent to about 721 billion yuan ($107 billion), CNN reported.
But growth in Huawei’s carrier business, the segment that provides telecommunications products including 5G equipment to carriers around the world, dropped by 1.3 per cent. At a press conference on Friday, rotating chairman Guo Ping said the decline was mainly because the company upped investments in research and development last year. But the US has been leading an effort to curb Huawei’s ambitions to become the global leader of next generation wireless technology, or 5G.
Washington has been urging allies to restrict or ban the use of Huawei equipment in their 5G networks, alleging Beijing could use the company’s products to spy on other nations. Huawei denies that any of its products pose a national security.
The US campaign is having mixed results, CNN said.
Announcing its approach on Wednesday, the European Commission said that European Union member states would conduct 5G risk assessments by June, and a wider security review by December. It made no mention of a blanket ban on Huawei equipment. The UK, however, could be moving closer to the US position on the Chinese tech company. UK security officials delivered a harsh rebuke to Huawei on Thursday, raising new concerns over its engineering work and questioning the company’s commitment to security.
Meanwhile, Huawei’s smartphone and consumer business continued to outpace growth in the rest of the business and now accounts for 48 per cent of total sales, according to the company. Huawei sold over 200 million smartphones in 2018, boosting revenue in the company’s consumer business to about 349 billion yuan ($51.8 billion) — an increase of more than 45 per cent.