Huawei phone shipments increased by 40 million units in 2019, the company said Thursday. Despite the U.S. government’s best attempts at crippling its business, the firm put out 240 million handsets last year.
That’s according to Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer electronics business. Speaking to Chinese media earlier this week, the executive also revealed Huawei’s revenue in the segment increased to $65 billion. The turnover figure is arguably even more important for the conglomerate’s long-term outlook; with a 20% increase in shipments and 35% higher revenue, Huawei’s profit margins are going up, which is a textbook indicator of a maturing business.
The newly hit milestones allow Huawei to maintain its momentum, thus continuing to defy the Trump administration. In that regard, not much has changed compared to last year when Huawei celebrated surpassing 200 million shipments for the first time ever. That isn’t to say the overall situation is ideal for the company, having further deteriorated compared to 12 months ago.
Can Huawei phone shipments continue growing in 2020?
Not even Huawei is claiming everything is peachy. 2019 phone shipments aside, the company’s quite upfrank about already losing billions of dollars due to U.S. sanctions. It’s unlikely the U.S. government will be changing its position on the Chinese technology behemoth anytime soon. Even if the incumbent Trump administration is voted out in November, banning Chinese tech whenever and wherever possible is a bipartisan policy in Washington.
In light of these circumstances, it’s becoming increasingly less likely Huawei will manage to continue this momentum moving forward. 2020 may hence be the year its smartphone business finally peaks, some industry watchers believe. Be that as it may, the Shenzen-based company is still ramping up R&D investments across the board. The nascent foldable smartphone niche could be another major revenue avenue for Huawei moving forward, albeit not anytime soon. Yu himself admitted to that late last month, noting how the company still has high hopes for bendable handsets in the long term.
The Chinese conglomerate should start seeing more immediate returns in the 5G space. Even as the U.S. continues to reject its telecom tech, many European countries remain willing to play ball. Huawei’s consequently expected to increase its investments on the Old Continent in the years ahead. As for its 2019 phone shipments, those stand as a major reminder this is still one of the largest businesses on the planet; it will take considerably more effort than what the U.S. did so far for Huawei’s growth to halt.