Huawei's Q1 revenue jumps 39% to $36b despite US pressure

Chinese tech giant's first-ever quarterly results come amid US campaign to stop firm from building 5G mobile networks

HONG KONG • Huawei Technologies said yesterday that its first-quarter revenue jumped 39 per cent to 179.7 billion yuan (S$36.3 billion), in the Chinese technology firm's first-ever quarterly results.

The Shenzhen-based firm, the world's biggest telecoms equipment maker, also said its net profit margin was around 8 per cent for the quarter, which it added was slightly higher than in the same period last year. It did not disclose its actual net profit.

The limited results announcement comes at a time when Washington has intensified a campaign against unlisted Huawei, alleging that its equipment could be used for espionage and urging US allies to ban it from building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

Huawei has denied the allegations and launched an unprecedented media blitz by opening up its campus to journalists and making its low-key founder Ren Zhengfei available for interviews.

The Chinese firm, which is also the world's No. 3 smartphone maker, said last week the number of contracts it has won to provide 5G telecoms gear increased further despite the US campaign.

By the end of last month, Huawei said it had signed 40 commercial 5G contracts with carriers, shipped more than 70,000 5G base stations to markets around the world, and expects to have shipped 100,000 by next month.

Huawei's network business saw its first drop in revenue in two years in 2018. But its founder said in an interview with CNBC earlier this month that network equipment sales rose 15 per cent, while sales of its consumer business increased by more than 70 per cent in the first quarter.

  • 40

    Number of commercial 5G contracts Huawei had signed with carriers by the end of last month.

    >70k

    Number of 5G base stations Huawei had shipped to markets around the world by the end of last month.

"These figures show that we are still growing, not declining," Mr Ren said.

Mr Guo Ping, rotating chairman of the company, has said he expects all three business groups - consumer, carrier and enterprise - to post double-digit growth this year.

Huawei also said yesterday it had shipped 59 million smartphones in the first quarter. It did not disclose year-ago comparable figures, but according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, Huawei shipped 39.3 million smartphones in the first quarter of last year.

Separately, Huawei yesterday launched what it said was the world's first 5G communications hardware for the automotive industry, in a sign of its growing ambitions to become a key supplier to the sector for self-driving technology.

It said the so-called MH5000 module is based on the Balong 5000 5G chip launched in January.

"Based on this chip, Huawei has developed the world's first 5G car module with high speed and high quality," it said.

It launched the module at the Shanghai Autoshow, which began last week and runs until Thursday.

"As an important communication product for future intelligent car transportation, this 5G car module will promote the automotive industry to move towards the 5G era," Huawei said.

It added that the module will aid its plans to start commercialising 5G network technology for the automotive sector in the second half of this year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2019, with the headline 'Huawei's Q1 revenue jumps 39% to $36b despite US pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe