Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Huawei hints US pressure hurting sales

CYBERSECURITY CONCERNS:The company would have to wait ‘a little bit longer’ to become the world’s No. 1 smartphone maker, chief strategist Shao Yang said

AP, SHANGHAI

A Huawei Technologies Co Mate20 X smartphone is displayed at the company’s stand at the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) yesterday said it would have become the world’s No. 1 smartphone maker by the end of this year if it were not for “unexpected” circumstances — a hint that pressure from the US might be hurting its sales.

“If we had not encountered anything unexpected, we would have become number one in the world by the fourth quarter,” Huawei chief strategist Shao Yang (邵洋) said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai.

“But now we have to wait a little bit longer to achieve that,” he said, without referring directly to US President Donald Trump or the trade dispute.

Washington last month put Huawei on a blacklist that effectively bars US firms from selling to the company without government approval.

The action was part of a broader trade dispute between China and the US, which has accused Chinese technology companies, such as Huawei, of stealing trade secrets and threatening cybersecurity.

While Huawei has denied it would share user secrets with the Chinese Communist Party, Trump is on a mission to persuade US allies to exclude Huawei equipment from next-generation 5G mobile networks.

Shao said the company would march on in its development of the technology.

“People see 5G, but we see beyond that,” he said. “Those who are not brave will not progress, they will lag behind. So everything that we do is to define our direction in the new round of competition.”

Separately, Nokia Oyj is winning contracts “quite handsomely” in new 5G telecom networks as the top three suppliers go head-to-head for the emerging business, chief executive officer Rajeev Suri said.

“We compete quite favorably with Huawei, with or without the current security concerns,” Suri said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Caroline Hyde on Monday.

Against fellow Nordic competitor Ericsson AB, “we win two-thirds of the time,” Suri said, “compared to one-third of the time that they swap us out.”

Suri has rebutted concerns from some analysts and executives that Nokia has fallen behind in the early phases of delivering products for the 5G mobile networks.

A few weeks of delays “is not really much” in the context of a 15 to 20-year cycle, Suri said.

In the first quarter of this year, the Finnish company struggled to book revenue from the contracts it had signed — 42 globally thus far — but now expects to start recognizing revenue “soon,” he said.

Suri dismissed the idea that security concerns in Europe — which have prompted some governments to tighten oversight of Huawei — could delay the rollout of 5G in the region.

The technology is immune to macroeconomic downturns as “‘you absolutely have to invest” in 5G, he said.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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