Dec 31, 2019

Huawei ends 2019 with record-high $122 billion in revenue

A Huawei store in Hangzhou, China on Dec. 12, 2019. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese telecom giant Huawei said Tuesday that its revenue reached $122 billion in 2019, setting a new record for the company even as it weathers a campaign by the Trump administration to block its global expansion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Many U.S. officials fear that Huawei's telecom equipment could be used by China for surveillance, and that a 5G equipment market dominated by Huawei would give the authoritarian government in Beijing access to massive amounts of data. The company is just one flashpoint in the escalating U.S. confrontation with China.

The big picture: The Commerce Department placed Huawei on its "entity list" in May, blocking U.S. companies from providing the telecom with chips, software and other components over national security concerns.

  • In November, the Trump administration granted waivers to some U.S. companies to sell to Huawei. The blacklisting overall didn't prove to be as harmful as expected, as many U.S. companies assemble chips overseas, the WSJ notes.
  • Huawei had aimed for $130 billion in revenue in 2019, but lowered expectations in August to a sum closer to its 2018 mark — $105 billion. The company's estimated 2019 revenue of 850 billion Chinese yuan, or roughly $122 billion, is unaudited.

What's next: "Survival will be our first priority" in 2020, Huawei’s chairman, Eric Xu, told employees in a New Year's message. Xu expects Huawei to remain on the "entity list" and projects that next year will be difficult, with less rapid growth than the first half of 2019.

Go deeper: Why Huawei is the United States' 5G boogeyman

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Europe feels the squeeze over Huawei

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

European countries are caught in the middle of dueling pressure campaigns from the U.S. and China over whether to let equipment made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei into their 5G networks.

Why it matters: It's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" choice that could leave Europe alienating a major trading partner either way.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020

Huawei threatens America's closest relationship

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Leon Neal/Getty Staff, Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Contributor

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is inching toward a decision that could profoundly harm the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States under President Trump.

Driving the news: Johnson is expected to decide, as soon as this week, whether to defy Trump's request that he ban Chinese technology giant Huawei from the U.K.'s 5G wireless network.

Go deeperArrowJan 26, 2020

U.K. allows Huawei to build part of 5G network

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Jan. 27. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The United Kingdom on Tuesday announced Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will build part of the country's next generation 5G mobile networks.

Why it matters: The United States along with numerous Conservative MPs have repeatedly warned the U.K. that Huawei is a national security risk, claiming that China could use its equipment for espionage. It's a sign the U.S. campaign against Huawei is faltering as allies open their markets.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020