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Huawei says sales rose in 2020, but growth slowed amid US sanctions

Huawei says sales rose in 2020, but growth slowed amid US sanctions
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Huawei's rotating chairman Ken Hu blamed lagging smartphone sales on supply issues and U.S. sanctions on Wednesday, while touting the company's overall growth.

At a press conference announcing the release of the company's annual report, Hu said that Huawei's smartphone business was being impacted by "unfair sanctions" as well as supply issues brought on by COVID-19 and the ongoing semiconductor shortage.

“Because of the unfair sanctions placed on us by the U.S., our mobile phone business saw a revenue decline,” Hu said.

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Sales "fell short of our expectations," Hu continued, adding that "because of the shortage in supply, the mobile phone business saw a revenue decline."

Despite the drop in smartphone revenue, Huawei's rotating chair added elsewhere in the report that the company's overall revenue remained "largely in line with forecast."

The company has been accused by U.S. officials of allowing Chinese Communist Party officials access to data that flows through its equipment and networks, a charge the company has repeatedly denied.

Last year, then-White House national security adviser Robert O'BrienRobert O'BrienHuawei says sales rose in 2020, but growth slowed amid US sanctions White House aides head for exits after chaos at Capitol Top Melania Trump aide Stephanie Grisham resigns MORE claimed that the company's equipment being used in European 5G network expansions would mean that "personal private data [in those countries] is going to be owned 100 percent by the Chinese Communist Party."

China's government has accused the U.S. of trying to interfere with Huawei's business, while U.S. lawmakers have countered that companies such as Huawei are the benefit of subsidies that allow it to undercut U.S. companies.

In early March, Beijing sharply criticized the Biden administration after the U.S. placed new restrictions on Huawei 5G equipment.

“The U.S. should stop the suppression on Chinese companies immediately and treat Chinese companies in a fair, just and nondiscriminatory manner," said a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry.