CHINESE smart smartphone Huawei has proven immune to “political forces” threatening the company, announcing this week that sales of their smartphones and other devices grew by 50 percent in 2018 and hit a record high of US$52 billion.
The manufacturer has fast become a force to be reckoned within the market, causing an upset in rankings when it surpassed Apple to become the world’s second biggest smartphone maker, second only to Samsung. Huawei now corners almost 16 percent of the global market, shipping 206 million units in 2018.
The Chinese company’s growth is impressive considering it was a largely unheard of brand just a few years ago and it has been embroiled in political clashes as it tries to grow its market.
It is largely locked out of the US market – one of the biggest in the world – as Washington has accused the company of ties to the Chinese leadership and claim it is helping Beijing to spy on western governments.
Australia and the UK have also echoed these concerns, disallowing Huawei from carrying out its 5G connection across Australia.
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested on 1 December in Vancouver at the request of the US. The incident has let to Beijing retaliating by arresting Canadians living in China and heightening tensions with Canada.
Despite the ramped up political pressure, Huawei executives have come out fighting. Speaking at a product launch on Thursday, Consumer division president Richard Yu called the reports “fake news” and said the companies growth plan would remain unchanged.
“The concerns all came from the political guys making noise,” he told reporters, as reported by Bloomberg. “That’s some influence, but definitely we are confident about our future.”
While the direct impact of this on business is not clearly known, the revenues speak for themselves.
The company’s revenue is expected to top US$125 billion in 2019, while smartphone shipments rose 35 percent in 2018. And they have ambitious plans to expand.
Huawei is angling for the lead in 5G, the technology that powers everything from self-driving cars to smart cities.
On Thursday, it unveiled a self-developed chip for 5G base stations as well as a modem chip for devices. According to Bloomberg, the company has already shipped over 25,000 of its 5G base stations worldwide.
The company’s founder, billionaire Ren Zhengfei, has shirked off concerns of political pressure and has his sights firmly trained on the top spot.
“The US market is big, but unfortunately there is a political guy there, we can’t do anything,” he said last week in a rare public appearance.
“Even without the US market, we will be the number one.”