Huawei Revenue Nears $100 Billion in Year of Chip Breakthroughs

(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co.’s revenue surged 9% in 2023, capping a dramatic year for a Chinese technology powerhouse that challenged Apple Inc. and US sanctions with a surprise breakthrough in chip technology.Most Read from BloombergThe Late-Night Email to Tim Cook That Set the Apple Watch Saga in MotionBridgewater CEO’s Past Office Romance Led to Favoritism ClaimsChinese Carmaker Overtakes Tesla as World’s Most Popular EV MakerL’Oreal Heir Francoise Bettencourt Meyers Becomes First Woman With $100 Billion FortuneXiaomi Unveils Its First EV, With Ambition to Be China’s Porsche or TeslaSales jumped to more than 700 billion yuan ($98.7 billion), their fastest pace of growth in years thanks to a resurgent smartphone business and robust 5G equipment sales.Huawei made a splash in 2023 after releasing a smartphone with a sophisticated made-in-China 7-nanometer Kirin processor, celebrated across the country over US restrictions intended to hobble the country’s tech industry. The revelation ignited debate in Washington over whether those curbs had failed, and what more needed to be done.Huawei, written off as a top smartphone player after the US cut it off from overseas suppliers in 2019, is mounting a comeback. The Shenzhen-based conglomerate has emerged as a symbol of China’s resolve to thwart its geopolitical rival’s curbs. But Huawei itself warned of the dangers Washington and a volatile global economy will pose in 2024.“After years of hard work, we’ve managed to weather the storm. And now we’re pretty much back on track,” Ken Hu, one of several executives that rotate into the chairman’s role, said in a traditional end-of-year message to staff. “We have to be aware that changes in the business environment are not caused by geopolitical conflict alone, but also by fluctuating global economic cycles.”Huawei has enjoyed strong support domestically since its 2019 blacklisting. State-owned telecom carriers awarded Huawei lucrative deals in 5G and cloud computing, and other institutions bought nonperforming businesses from the company.Story continuesThe Mate 60 Pro — the gadget housing the 7nm Kirin chip — has taken market share away from Apple’s iPhone 15 since its August launch. And Huawei has morphed into a major player in semiconductors, the very sector the Biden administration is focused on curtailing.Huawei, traditionally a leader in networking equipment and smartphones, is establishing a network of chip plants and receiving an estimated $30 billion of funding from the government and its own hometown of Shenzhen, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.Going into 2024, Huawei may have to contend with not just a persistent US campaign to contain China, but also pressure to keep up its technological advances.That last will become more difficult as already-scarce critical components for chipmaking, such as equipment, become further strained. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has said the US will take the “strongest possible” action to protect its national security when asked how she will respond to Huawei’s breakthrough.Most Read from Bloomberg BusinessweekElon Musk Made 2023 All About HimselfWhat Dermatologists Really Think About Those Anti-Aging ProductsThe Most Secretive Longevity Lab Finally Opens Its DoorsWhat the Oldest Lab Rodents Are Teaching Humans About Staying YoungHow the Elf on the Shelf Took Over Christmas©2023 Bloomberg L.P.