Huawei 2020 revenue ticks up despite U.S. sanctions, chairman says

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Huawei Technologies saw slight revenue and profit growth in 2020, in line with its expectations, its rotating chairman said on Tuesday, even as Washington toughened sanctions against the Chinese telecom equipment maker.

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The company was put on an export blacklist by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 and barred from accessing critical technology of U.S. origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it poses a security risk.

“Huawei was confronted with some extraordinary difficulties last year,” rotating Chairman Ken Hu said at industry event Mobile World Congress Shanghai in the Chinese business hub.

“Operations were relatively stable and in line with our guidance, registering slight growth in revenue and profit.”

This month, founder and Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei said he hoped the Biden administration would “harbour an open policy” towards U.S. firms doing business with Huawei in his first comments to the media in about a year.

China has spent more than 260 billion yuan ($40.27 billion) building its 5G network, an official of the Ministry of Information and Information Technology said on Tuesday.

On Monday, Huawei unveiled its new 5G Mate X2 foldable phone, which makes use of its proprietary Kirin processor.

However, with the cheapest model starting at 17,999 yuan ($2,788), the phone is not positioned to challenge players in the mainstream market.

Huawei set up 50,000 base stations in Indonesia, Hu said, adding that it planned to build 2,000 base stations in remote regions of Ghana.

The company is expected to post full-year results in March, a spokesman said.

(This story corrects paragraph 10 to drop reference to 5G)

Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Writing by David Kirton; Editing by Kim Coghill and Sherry Jacob-Phillips