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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou makes first firm look since launch from Canada

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The chief monetary officer’s first look since her launch got here at an earnings presentation in Shenzhen the place she took questions from reporters. The Chinese language tech large mentioned that it made 636.8 billion yuan ($99.9 billion) in income in 2021, down almost 29% from the earlier yr.

“We managed to outlive 2021,” the corporate’s rotating chairman, Guo Ping mentioned. “[But] our combat to outlive isn’t over but.”

Earnings, nevertheless, soared to 113.7 billion yuan ($17.8 billion), surging about 76% year-on-year. That marked a major enchancment on 2020, when earnings ticked up simply over 3%.

“Regardless of a income decline in 2021, our capability to make a revenue and generate money flows is rising,” Meng mentioned in a press release. “We’re extra able to coping with uncertainty.”

She additionally alluded briefly to her private ordeal, saying that in her time away, the world had “modified a lot.”

“Over the previous six months, I have been studying and making an attempt to catch up,” mentioned Meng.

Authorized battle

Meng returned to China final fall after a long-running extradition battle with the US, the place she and Huawei had been charged for alleged financial institution fraud and evasion of financial sanctions in opposition to Iran.
The manager, who can be the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in December 2018 on the behest of the US authorities, and spent nearly three years beneath home arrest in her multimillion-dollar house within the metropolis amid the proceedings.
Meng’s authorized troubles strained relations amongst China, the US and Canada, particularly after Beijing detained two Canadians following her arrest — a transfer extensively interpreted as political retaliation. Beijing has repeatedly denied it was holding them as political hostages.
Meng was allowed to return house final September after reaching an settlement with the US Division of Justice to defer her prosecution till late 2022, after which level her expenses could possibly be dropped. Meng pleaded not responsible to expenses together with conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud and wire fraud. Nevertheless, as a part of the deal, Meng admitted to misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with an Iranian subsidiary.
Hours after her launch, the 2 Canadians detained by China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, have been additionally freed.
Upon her homecoming, Meng was greeted as a hero in Shenzhen, the place Huawei is headquartered.

‘Survival’ mission

Lately, Huawei has been more and more hit by US sanctions, reducing off the corporate’s capability to acquire crucial elements for its gadgets.

US policymakers have lengthy claimed that Huawei poses a nationwide safety threat, alleging that the Chinese language authorities may use the corporate’s tools to spy. The corporate has repeatedly denied these allegations, and tried to enhance its standing in Washington.

Huawei has been forthcoming concerning the ensuing harm. In 2020, it declared that “survival” was the purpose, with “nonstop aggression from the US authorities” stifling operations.
Its smartphone enterprise — as soon as world main — has been hit notably onerous as its capability to acquire chips continues to be impacted.

In response, Huawei has leaned into different areas. It reported development in gross sales of different shopper devices, corresponding to wearable tech, and mentioned that industrial use of its 5G expertise had confirmed to be a shiny spot.

Apple is back on top in smartphone sales worldwide after a record win in China
However Huawei, which is privately held, didn’t disclose the present state of its operations in Russia, the place it launched a 5G venture final yr.

Requested concerning the disaster in Ukraine, Guo mentioned that “our sympathy goes out to individuals affected by this battle, and now we have seen that international locations are in search of options.”

“Identical to each one in all you, we hope to see a ceasefire and finish of the conflict as quickly as potential,” he mentioned, with out commenting additional.

— CNN’s Nectar Gan and Clare Duffy contributed to this report.

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