Huawei sounded a cautiously optimistic note on its future as the slide in the Chinese technology group’s business under US sanctions started to slow.
Total revenue for 2021 was expected to hit Rmb634bn ($99.5bn), the company said on Friday. That represented a 29 per cent drop compared with 2020, but a slight improvement on the third quarter, when revenues were 38 per cent lower than a year earlier.
“2022 will come with its fair share of challenges, but we will keep working closely with our global partners to overcome the difficulties we face, improve business performance and strengthen our foundations,” said Guo Ping, the company’s rotating chair, in a new year’s message.
The past 12 months marked Huawei’s first calendar year since the US imposed a full range of export controls intended to deny the company access to essential technology and component supplies.
The restrictions bar any company worldwide from using US technology or components to supply Huawei or companies that use or manufacture its products without an export licence. The measures have mainly hit the group’s consumer business, as Huawei can no longer obtain semiconductors crucial to making its smartphones.
The company has responded by trying to boost other parts of its business, including cloud services and electric car component manufacturing.
Huawei spun off Honor, a smartphone brand, and has rapidly lost global market share to rivals including Apple and domestic brands Oppo and Xiaomi.
The company has also expanded its devices business from smartphones into wearables.
“Our carrier business remained stable, our enterprise business experienced solid growth and our device business expanded swiftly into new business domains,” Guo said. Those include wearables, smart speakers, laptops and even smart car equipment.
Guo said Huawei would continue to increase investment in research and development and global recruitment. The company also said it would promote Euler, its operating system, as the basis for a software ecosystem for digital infrastructure such as servers. This echoes efforts to advance Harmony, Huawei’s better-known operating system for devices such as smartphones.
The dual push highlights the company’s continued ambitions to remain a technology leader despite the pressure from Washington.
Guo expressed the aim to lead global tech standard-setting and software foundations, echoing the rhetoric employed by founder Ren Zhengfei to defend the company through its battle for survival.
“Cutting costs won’t pave the way to sustainable survival. Only through strategic investment can we grow stronger and build a future for ourselves,” Guo said.
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