Huawei eyes 10% MidEast revenue jump in 2012

Chinese telecoms firm aims to become US$100bn company within ten years

Ken Hu, deputy chairman and rotating-CEO, Huawei.

Ken Hu, deputy chairman and rotating-CEO, Huawei.

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei believes revenues derived from its Middle East operations will rise by about 10 percent this year, the firm’s deputy chairman told Arabian Business.

The Shenzhen-based company, which specialises in networking hardware, mobile devices and IT services, currently has revenues of about US$3bn across the region and US$32bn worldwide. It has said previously that it wishes to be a US$100bn a year company within the next decade.

“In the Middle East we’re very confident that this year we will be in around 10 percent growth,” Ken Hu, who is also Huawei’s ‘rotating CEO’, said in an interview in Dubai. Its customers in the region include Etisalat, for which it has built a UAE-wide LTE broadband network, and operator STC in Saudi Arabia.

Hu said that Huawei was anticipating strong global growth in its mobile devices division, which sells smartphones and tablets, as that of its carrier network unit slows. “This year our device business will contribute roughly 30 percent of our global revenue, which is around US$9bn,” he said.

Hu added that the company, which sources about 70 percent of sales from outside its native China, is increasingly focusing on emerging markets in light of ongoing economic turmoil in the West.

“We feel that the global market is in a pretty difficult shape because of the situation in the US and also in Europe, particularly the crisis in the European market,” he said. “However, we’re still confident that we can meet our target for this year which is around a 15 percent to 20 percent growth in our revenue [for full year 2012].”

Hu denied press reports that the company was planning an initial public offering (IPO) on a global stock market in the near future, although refused to rule out a future listing.

Huawei has struggled to gain access to potentially lucrative territories including the US and Australia after governments in those countries expressed security concerns regarding the company. Hu told Arabian Business that a US government investigation whose conclusion was that American companies should avoid doing business with Huawei was a sign of "rising [economic] protectionism".

The increased transparency that comes with an IPO could be one way of helping assuage these concerns. “The IPO is always in our consideration as our growth strategy”, Hu said, without giving further details.

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