Huawei had a good 2023 based on its Annual Report, which it released today. It raked in $97.53 billion (704.2 billion yuan) in revenue and $12.05 billion (87 billion yuan) in net profits.

These numbers were a big improvement compared to 2022, which was a rough year for the company. In 2022, it reported $88.96 billion (642.3 billion yuan) in revenue and only $4.93 billion (35.6 billion yuan) in net profits. However, in 2022, Huawei was still reeling from Covid lockdowns and U.S. technology restrictions. Its fortunes markedly improved last year.

In 2023, its ICT infrastructure business, which houses its wireless and wired telecom products along with its enterprise business, generated $50.14 billion (362 billion yuan) in revenue, up 2.3% year over year. The consumer business recorded $34.76 billion (251.5 billion yuan), jumping 17.3% from 2022. And the cloud computing business brought in $7.66 billion (55.3 billion yuan), up 21.9% from the previous year.

Ken Hu, Huawei’s rotating chairman was modest in his official statement.

At the end of 2023, Reuters published a report speculating that Huawei might go public. The speculation was based on the fact that Huawei’s profits were terrible in 2022 and an IPO could raise a lot of money. Today, Huawei declined to make any comments to Fierce. But given its drastically improved profits in 2023, perhaps the IPO argument no longer holds as much weight.

Boom vs bloodbath

Even though Huawei has suffered a tough five years, it’s still the biggest telecom vendor in terms of revenue.

According to Dell’Oro, it commands 30% of all telecom revenue share, handily beating Ericsson and Nokia.

And fortunes may be further reversing, because in 2023, while Huawei saw its revenues and profits increase, Ericsson and Nokia did not.

In fact, last year was a bit of a bloodbath for the Nordic telecom vendors.

Analyst Stefan Pongratz, vice president with the Dell’Oro Group, recently said, “One major theme across the various telecom programs is that despite ongoing efforts by the U.S. government to limit Huawei’s addressable market and access to the latest silicon, Huawei still maintains its position as the global telecom equipment leader. In fact, our assessment is that Huawei’s lead widened in 2023, in part because its limited exposure to the North America region was a benefit in 2023 on a relative basis.”

Carrier, consumer and cloud

Regarding its carrier business within ICT, the company said 2024 will mark the first year of its 5.5G commercial use. (The rest of the telecom world refers to 5.5G as “5G Advanced.”)

Huawei said that on the Chinese mainland, all three of the major carriers have started 5.5G deployments in key cities. The company is also working with carriers on 5.5G in Hong Kong, the European countries of Finland and Germany, and with the Middle East carriers du in the UAE, stc in Kuwait and Turkcell in Turkey.

Revenues in Huawei’s consumer business jumped 17.3% in 2023, driven largely by its rollout of the Mate 60 Series smartphone with its Harmony operating system.

By the end of 2023, HarmonyOS had been deployed on more than 800 million devices. 

In Q4 2023, Huawei shipped 10.4 million smartphones in the Chinese market, accounting for 14% of the total market share, recording an annual growth rate of 47%, and ranking fourth overall in the Chinese smartphone market, according to the analysts at Canalys.

The company’s cloud business, which is similar to U.S. cloud companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), now covers 30 geographical regions and 84 availability zones and provides services for customers in more than 170 countries and regions. Huawei Cloud has launched more than 10,000 applications in its KooGallery cloud marketplace.

Huawei always likes to tout its investments in R&D. In 2023, the company spent $22.81 billion (164.7 billion yuan) on R&D, which accounted for an astonishing 23.4% of its annual revenue.

As of December 31, 2023, Huawei employed about 207,000 people, and it said 114,000 of them work in R&D.

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