Huawei seeks to overcome US sanctions with investment drive

Sales slide 29% in 2021 as Joe Biden maintains Trump-era restrictions

Huawei Technologies pledged to step up investment in software and digital power technology, seeking to overcome US sanctions that dragged sales to a fifth straight slump.

Revenue fell 19 per cent to 178.2 billion yuan (€24.5 billion) in the three months to end-December, based on full-year figures provided by Huawei. Sales in 2021 reached Y634 billion, the Shenzhen-based company said in a new year message, down 29 per cent from a year earlier.

The Chinese tech giant has seen sales tumble as the Biden administration maintained sanctions that were levied under former US president Donald Trump. The blacklisting cut off Huawei's access to American-made components and technology vital for its once red-hot mobile phone business, while several US allies have also barred the use of the Chinese firm's equipment in building their 5G networks.

With sanctions set to persist, Huawei will focus on information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to help different industries go digital and smart devices, according to the new year message. It will increase investment in HarmonyOS and EulerOS, its operating systems for consumer and enterprise, while boosting spending in technology to develop clean energy and help traditional energy sectors go digital.


"The harder you strike flint, the brighter the spark," rotating chairman Guo Ping said in the letter. "The road ahead is long and hard. As long as we press ahead, we will reach our destination."

Huawei, a closely held firm, did not release detailed financial information for its various business units. Years of US sanctions have strained Huawei's smartphone business, which was once the biggest source of revenue before a series of Trump-era trade bans cut the company off from key chipsets made by an array of suppliers from Qualcomm to Skyworks Solutions.

In response, Huawei has been exploring ways to sustain a business that brought in Y483 billion of revenue last year. That includes licensing its handset designs to third parties as a way to gain access to critical components, Bloomberg News reported last month. The company is also exploring emerging opportunities in areas from smart mining to electric vehicles. – Bloomberg