2020 was always going to be an important year for Huawei. 2019 was less than ideal as the ongoing issues between the Chinese firm and the United States has impacted its relationship with Google and its Android ecosystem, as well as bringing into question the security of its 5G hardware.

Now rotating chairman, Eric Xu, has acknowledged just how difficult 2020 will be, noting that COVID-19 has only exacerbated the situation, to make predictions and projections with regards to sales and earnings next to impossible.

“In an earnings briefing, Xu said this will be a crucial period as the company faces itsĀ first full year of US trade restrictions; tests to its supply chain due to dwindling component inventories; and the economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic,” according to Mobile World Live.

Weathering the storm

This follows the company sharing its annual earnings report for 2019 (which ended on 31st December), in which the firm performed well despite its several setbacks throughout the year. To that end it saw a revenue increase of 19.1 percent year-on-year, with net profit reaching 62.7 billion Chinese Yuan.

“Despite enormous outside pressure, our team forged ahead with a singular focus on creating value for our customers. We worked hard to earn their respect and trust, as well as that of our partners around the globe. Business remains solid,” Xu explained in a press statement sent to Hypertext.

Looking at different markets from across the globe, in its native China, Huawei performed well, with the region accounting for a year-on-year growth of 36.2 percent.

Europe, Middle East and Africa followed in terms of revenue, but growth for the year slowed down slightly at 0.7 percent, potentially pointing to hesitancy to purchase devices given the uncertainty surrounding Android at the time.

Shifting focus to the impact of COVID-19, the rotating chairman was careful to stress that technology firms need to play their part moving forward.

Testing times

“We can imagine the impact of the ripple effect on the global industry. Our hope is everyone can work together to focus on the challenges the industry faces and come up with solutions,” he told Mobile World.

Speaking about the firm’s strategy for the rest of the year, not only in tackling the impact of COVID-19, but the other hurdles which stand before it, he called for greater focus on customers and a desire to push innovation.

“The external environment will only get more complicated going forward,” Xu cautioned.

“We need to keep enhancing the competitiveness of our products and services, promoting open innovation, and creating greater value for our customers and society at large. This is the only way we can seize the historic opportunities presented by the digital and intelligent transformation of industries, and maintain robust growth in the long run,” he continued.

How effective this approach will be, remains to be seen, but an early indicator of local consumer interest in the brand will come in May, when Huawei is expected to launch its new P40 series of devices.

Either way 2020 will indeed prove pivotal for a firm which has only grown in leaps and bounds in the past decade, but has recently come up against some testing conditions.