Huawei Reports Biggest-Ever Revenue Drop

Huawei CeBIT 2017

Huawei reports largest-ever decline in revenues in first half of 2021, after selling off Honor smartphone brand and grappling with US sanctions

Huawei has reported its largest-ever drop in revenues in the first half of 2021, in part due to the sale of its Honor smartphone brand.

The company said it had 320.4 billion yuan (£36bn) in revenues for the period, a decline of almost 30 percent compared to the same period in 2020.

The biggest decline came from Huawei’s consumer unit, which includes smartphones, and saw revenues decline by 47 percent year-on-year to 135.7bn yuan.

Huawei sold its Honor smartphone brand following the imposition of US sanctions, in order to allow the unit to continue in business as an independent company.

Huawei, HarmonyOS, Android
Image credit: Huawei

Smartphone decline

The US added Huawei to an export blacklist in 2019, making it difficult for the company to access components such as microprocessors that use US design or manufacturing technology.

“US sanctions have posed great difficulties to our business operations and day-to-day work,” said Huawei’s consumer devices chief, Richard Yu, as the company launched a new phone earlier this year.

The sanctions mean that Huawei phones can’t work with Google software or services, forcing it to roll out its own HarmonyOS operating system and apps.

Huawei dropped out of the top five smartphone vendors for the first time in more than seven years in the second quarter, shipping only 6.4 million units, according to Canalys.

That compares to 27.4 million units in the same quarter a year earlier, excluding Honor handsets. Huawei sold Honor in November.

5G slowdown

The company said the global chip shortage also affected its business.

Huwei said its telecoms equipment business had seen a decline in revenue, which it told Reuters was due to the slow rollout of 5G in China.

But 5G sales outside of China increased, in spite of US pressure that has seen countries including the UK and Sweden bar Huawei from their 5G networks.

Huawei has denied US claims that its equipment poses a security risk and said the sanctions are economically motivated.

The firm saw growth in its enterprise and cloud services businesses, while efficiency improvements led to an increase in profit margins.

“Our aim is to survive, and to do so sustainably,” said Huawei rotating chairman Eric Xu in a statement.