Huawei Technologies has reported earnings of RMB64.6 billion ($13.26 billion) for year ended Dec 2020, up 3.2%. Revenue in the same period was up 3.8% y-o-y to RBM891.4 billion.

Evidently, the US sanctions and the economic impact of the pandemic have hurt Huawei’s business this past year. In the preceding five years, Huawei’s compounded annual growth rate for both its revenue and earnings have been around 14%.

Ken Hu, Huawei’s rotating chairman, speaking at the media briefing on March 31, maintains that the company is sticking to its strategic direction of providing connectivity and computing capabilities.

“We are not rearing pigs,” quips Hu, referring to recent media reports on how Huawei is being forced to drastically diversify its business. Rather, Huawei is expanding the application of technologies to a bigger group of users including farming.

In 2020, despite the slowdown in revenue growth, the company has maintained its research and development spending at around 15% of its turnover.


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Nevertheless, because of the US sanctions, which bans the sale of essential components to Huawei, the company’s handset business has been hit badly. In 2020, its sales of wearable, tablets and personal computers grew by 65%. However, the growth of these products were offset by a drop in its handsets sales.

As a result, Huawei’s consumer business group – one of the three groups in which the company organizes itself – reported revenue growth of just 3.3%. This was a significant slowdown from the double-digit growth experienced for several past years.

Hu notes that because of US sanctions, many US suppliers couldn’t readily find buyers to make up for the business they were doing with Huawei. “From our point of view, this is a lose-lose situation. If a political decision is damaging different players in the whole value chain, shouldn’t it be reviewed and corrected?” he says.

Meanwhile, its two other business segments, which focuses on telecom operators and enterprises, are relatively unscathed, as businesses speed up the pace of digitalization.

“The pandemic has brought forward cloud computing adoption by 1 to 3 years,” says Hu, adding that he sees 97% of large companies adopting some kind of artificial intelligence capabilities by 2025.

“We see both challenges, and opportunities,” says Hu.