Huawei enters 2019 with high expectations, daunting challenges in the U.S.

Huawei’s outlook for 2019 is higher than ever, but the prospect of being formally banned to operate in the U.S. could have a dramatic impact on the company’s success. Huawei’s Rotating Chairman Guo Ping issued a defiant New Year’s message that was both reflective of the company’s accomplishments in 2018 and deflecting the cloud of suspicion that hangs over the business.

The company is trying to push forward undeterred, but any formal action by the U.S. government would create a daunting challenge for Huawei and its customers in the U.S.

President Donald Trump is currently considering an executive order that would bar U.S. companies from using equipment made by Huawei and ZTE, according to a new Reuters report last week. The U.S. government is convinced that both companies work at the behest of the Chinese government and remain concerned that their equipment could be used to spy on Americans. Both companies have repeatedly denied these accusations, but an air of suspicion has followed them both for more than a decade in various forms.

The executive order has been under consideration for more than eight months and could be issued this month, according to Reuters. Trump previously signed a bill that barred the U.S. government from using Huawei and ZTE equipment.

Complicating matters, the order is unlikely to name Huawei or ZTE, but rather block U.S. companies from buying equipment from foreign telecommunications vendors that pose national security risks. The language used in the order may be ambiguous, but officials at the Department of Commerce are expected to interpret it as a means to limit the use of equipment made by both companies.

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Despite these serious challenges, Huawei’s Ping struck a largely positive tone in his New Year’s message and although he didn’t address the U.S. market directly, he reiterated the company’s determination to “fully enhance our software engineering capabilities to build trustworthy, quality products” in 2019 and beyond.

The company is expected to end 2018 with $108.5 billion in total sales, marking a 21% year-over-year increase. Huawei also says it has signed 26 commercial contracts for 5G with global carriers and has already shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations to markets around the world.

“Our products and solutions have earned the trust of our customers in more than 170 countries and regions. We have a very strong track record in cyber security. Huawei has never and will never present a security threat,” he wrote.

“No matter what changes we might face, our procurement strategy will remain unchanged. We will keep our policy consistent especially for our U.S. suppliers and firmly collaborate with them for shared success,” he added. “If we can develop the simplest possible network architecture, make our transaction models as simple as possible, ensure the highest level of cyber security and privacy protection, produce the best products, and provide the best services, no market can keep us away.”