Thursday 20 June 2019 9:48 am

Huawei founder downplays $30bn revenue hit after US ban

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei has played down the impact of a US trade ban on the Chinese tech firm, just days after it forecast a $30bn ($23.6bn) drop in revenue for the year.

Ren said Huawei would still post $100bn in revenue this year, roughly flat compared to 2018, and insisted the firm’s consumer business in China was still strong.

Read more: Huawei expects revenue to drop by billions amid US ban

However, he admitted the ban would impact overseas business.

“I don’t see that problem, because in the Chinese market, the consumer business has not seen a decline,” Ren told CNBC.

“It’s just that there might be declines overseas. In the worst case, 40 per cent, but now it’s less than 20 per cent. And that kind of decline is also changing. As I look at the declines in the consumer business, that would be about 10 per cent roughly, so it’s not that big.”

US President Donald Trump has added Huawei to a trade blacklist, effectively banning American companies from doing business with the telecoms giant.

The move has also taken its toll on the supply chain and a string of firms, including UK chip giant Arm, have suspended trading with Huawei.

But Ren did not explain how his firm would counteract the fall in demand for its products following the ban.

“We are making adjustments internally so we project there might be a slowdown, but until yesterday’s report I didn’t see any slowdown,” he said.

“And we don’t know what will be the growth by the end of the year. But we believe the $30bn US will be a very small thing.”

Read more: UK mobile operators ‘must be cautious’ over Huawei

Huawei has always denied allegations its equipment could be used for spying, and has dismissed the US’s campaign against it as politically-motivated.

But the Trump administration has maintained pressure on the Chinese firm and was warned its allies that any cooperation with Huawei could damage intelligence-sharing agreements.