Huawei gets India green light as it reports strong sales growth for 2019

Comms technology giant finishes challenging 2019 with solid commercial performance and permission to supply 5G technology in one of the world’s largest internet markets

Led by a US ban that it has decided to contest vigorously, 2019 saw controversy go hand in hand with Huawei, but the comms technology company has ended a trying year on a high, with solid commercial performance and permission to supply 5G technology in one of the world’s largest internet markets.

As his country got ready to establish 5G telecoms networks, Indian minister of law and justice, communications, electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad revealed that as part of India’s commitment to ensure faster roll-out of 5G services, the government had decided to give 5G spectrum for trials to the ecosystem at large.

“The age of 5G is coming,” he said in a speech outlining the future direction of India’s telecoms market. “We are working together for this. We have taken a decision to give 5G spectrum a trial. To all the players.”

In other words, no US-style bans on the company’s technology, nor indeed any tribulations such as those that have occurred in places such as the UK, in Germany and in Spain, among other places.

In a statement released after Prasad’s announcement, Jay Chen, chief executive of Huawei India, thanked the government for what he called its continued faith in the company. “We firmly believe that only technology innovations and high-quality networks will be the key to rejuvenating the Indian telecom industry,” he added.

And in a further fillip for the company, and contrary to stories that the US trade ban would lead to a financial setback for the considerable future, Huawei announced that its sales for 2019 grew to $122bn over the year, up 18% on an annual basis and less than 2% below the growth figure for 2018.

Analysts attributed the solid performance to the company’s ability to seek out alternative component suppliers to replace now-forbidden US-sourced firms.

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In November 2019, Huawei board director and president of the institute of strategic research, William Xu, stated that whatever the US regulatory authorities throw at Huawei, the company would still maintain its leadership position in 5G.

At the time, Xu said the company would remain open to collaboration for global companies – even those originating in the US.

“Our principle is that we hope there can be open collaboration and gratitude towards US partners,” he said. “We want to offer products and services across the world, and we will stick to the principle of open collaboration and multi-vendor supply.

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