Chinese tech giant Huawei says its revenue for the first half of 2019 soared 23% from a year ago, even though the U.S. put it on an export blacklist that will effectively ban U.S. companies from providing Huawei with critical components, such as computer chips.
“Given the situation, you might think things have been chaotic for us,” Huawei Chairman Liang Hua said in a statement. “But that’s far from the case.”
Alluding to tensions with the Trump administration, Liang compared the tech company to an airplane riddled with bullet holes: “We need to patch up these holes without losing altitude.”
Still, he said neither production nor shipment of smartphones, computers and wireless network hardware had been interrupted, “not for one single day,” though he noted that the company did see a dip in its intelligent computing sales.
Sales in the six months through June were just over $58.3 billion, according to Liang. But he says the company will “face difficulties” in the second half.
The U.S. views Huawei as a national security threat, saying it has close links with the Chinese government and that its equipment could be used for surveillance by Beijing, allegations that Huawei denies.
Huawei is considered the leader in the rollout of 5G wireless technology in many countries around the world. The Trump administration has been pressuring its allies, such as Germany, to bar Huawei equipment from their telecom networks. Liang said Huawei has secured 50 commercial 5G contracts and has shipped more than 150,000 base stations to customers globally.
In May, the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to an “entity list,” placing sweeping restrictions on U.S. companies doing business with the Shenzhen-based company and dozens of its subsidiaries. It later said the Chinese company had a reprieve on those sanctions until mid-August.
President Trump hinted last month that he might lift controls on Huawei, a move that could help seal protracted trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. Envoys from both sides are meeting this week in Shanghai.
Liang said that despite the robust earnings report, the U.S. restrictions could still hit Huawei hard. “We continue to see growth even after we were added to the entity list,” he said. “That’s not to say we don’t have difficulties ahead. We do, and they may affect the pace of our growth in the short term.”