US pushback no match for Huawei growth

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Huawei says it shipped more than 70 000 5G base stations by the end of March.
Huawei says it shipped more than 70 000 5G base stations by the end of March.

Despite continued Western pressure on Huawei's 5G business, the Chinese networking equipment-maker has seen a 39% year-on-year increase in first-quarter revenue.

The private company said in a statement on its Web site yesterday that revenue totalled 179.7 billion yuan ($26.8 billion; R379 billion) for the first three months of 2019. The company also said it had shipped 59 million smartphones in the first quarter of the year.

Earlier this year, there was fear Huawei could find itself cut out of 5G networks all over the world, as many countries followed US president Donald Trump's lead in limiting Huawei's access to their markets.

However, the world's biggest telecommunications equipment-maker seems to be doing fine and had signed 40 commercial contracts for 5G with leading global carriers by the end of March. Huawei said it had already shipped more than 70 000 5G base stations to markets around the world, and according to Reuters, it expects to have shipped 100 000 by May.

5G sales are growing fast as the group's 2018 annual report previously said that by the end of February 2019, the group had shipped over 40 000 5G base stations and signed 30 commercial contracts.

"2019 will be a year of large-scale deployment of 5G around the world, meaning Huawei's Carrier Business Group has unprecedented opportunities for growth," the group said.

In recent months, Washington has intensified a campaign against Huawei, alleging its equipment could be used for spying and espionage, and has urged US allies to ban it from their next-generation 5G mobile networks.

Japan has excluded Huawei from public procurement, and Australia and New Zealand have effectively blocked Huawei from involvement in the rollout of their 5G network infrastructure. A number of other western allies are considering excluding Huawei from forthcoming infrastructure rollouts.

Huawei has repeatedly denied installing any backdoors in its networking equipment for alleged government spying.

Last month, Huawei revealed it was suing the US government over its ban in the country, with rotating chairman Guo Ping saying the US Congress had "repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions of Huawei products".

Despite the Western pushback, Huawei's first quarter net profit margin was about 8%, slightly higher than the same period last year; however, the non-listed group did not disclose a figure for quarterly profit.

"Huawei maintained its focus on ICT infrastructure and smart devices, and continued to boost the efficiency and quality of its operations, which has helped contribute to its solid performance in Q1 2019," it added.

The group said more than one million enterprise users and developers are using Huawei Cloud as the group "aims to build the best possible hybrid cloud, provide full-stack artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for intelligent industries, and make inclusive AI a reality".

Huawei's Enterprise Business Group also deployed the world's first 5G-enabled WiFi 6 access point, and by the end of the quarter, the company claims to have shipped more WiFi 6 products than any other company worldwide.

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