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Huawei releases less information about its business as U.S. sanctions take effect

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Under pressure from the pandemic and U.S. sanctions, Huawei Technologies is being less forthcoming about the state of its business.

“Throughout the first three quarters of 2020, Huawei’s business results basically met expectations,” the Chinese company said in a statement announcing its results for the first three quarters of the year.

In the first nine months, revenues at the beleaguered tech giant increased 9.9% over last year, raking in $98 billion. Its net profit margin was 8%. But that’s all the information Huawei offered, declining to report revenue breakdown by segment as it did in its second quarter report.

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In its Q3 results last year, Huawei lauded its 26% increase in smartphone shipments and the growth of its Huawei Mobile Services ecosystem—an alternative to Android. (Huawei no longer has access to the Google operating system due to a U.S. embargo.)

Huawei, which launched its new Mate 40 flagship series on Thursday, hasn’t mentioned smartphone sales in any of its quarterly reports this year. Asked why smartphone shipments are absent from its Q3 report this year, a Huawei spokesperson said the company “will disclose additional business performance details in due course.”

According to market research firm Canalys, Huawei was the world’s leader in smartphone sales for the second quarter of 2020, marking the first time in nearly a decade that the top spot hadn’t been held by Apple or Samsung.

That impressive milestone was indicative of global decline in smartphone sales amid the pandemic. In the second quarter, Canalys reports, Huawei’s smartphone shipments contracted 5% compared to the same period in 2019. The company saw 8% growth in its domestic market in China, but 27% decline in international sales.

Samsung—the world’s leading smartphone seller in the first quarter—saw sales plummet 30% globally in Q2, leaving Huawei in the lead. But now that a U.S. blockade on Huawei’s semiconductor suppliers is in full effect, Huawei’s ability to maintain its lead is uncertain.

Thursday’s Mate 40 was the first phone launched since the U.S. cut off Huawei’s access to advanced semiconductors by prohibiting companies that use U.S. tech from supplying to the Chinese smartphone maker. It will likely be the last smartphone to use Huawei’s advanced Kirin chipsets.

Overall, the company’s revenue growth has slowed. Last year, Huawei reported a 24.4% surge in revenue for the first three quarters, compared to 9.9% this year. The company’s profit margin in the first three quarters last year was also slightly higher, at 8.7%.

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