Huawei’s rotating chairman Eric Xu announced that the company sold 240 million phones in 2019. The announcement was made in an internal memo sent to employees that was shared with select media. According to analysts, Apple will finish the year at around 185 to 190 million phones sold. Samsung hasn’t announced figures yet, but it very likely will remain at the top spot.
The news comes as a shock to many after the company was placed on the United States’ “entity list”— an export blacklist. Huawei’s smartphone business had a milestone year in 2018, as the company reached the 200 million phone shipment mark for the first time. This year, Huawei pushed ahead of Apple to become the world’s No. 2 smartphone brand by units sold.
Xu also announced in the memo that Huawei’s total revenue in 2019 topped 850 billion yuan (around $121 billion), an 18% increase over 2018. The revenue included the company’s carrier business and enterprise business in addition to consumer gadgets.
These numbers are surprising, as the Google export ban would have been a critical blow to the company’s phone business. Xu say in the memo that the company’s record phone sales are likely due to momentum carried over from early 2019 before essentially being banned from using Google. He even conceded that the company won’t grow in 2020 like it did in 2019.
Further, Xu seems to suggest the entity list issue won’t be resolved anytime soon: “ is going to be a difficult year for us. In 2020, we will continue to remain on the U.S. entity list.”