Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping admitted 2018 was “an eventful year, to say the least”, but global security concerns around the Chinese vendor failed to have a big impact on its performance last year.

The company shipped more than 200 million smartphones and grew total revenue 21 per cent to $108.5 billion.

In an annual New Year’s message to employees, Guo argued Huawei “never stopped pushing forward”, despite bans in a number of countries.

He outlined the company’s strategic priorities and emphasised its determination to overcome the many obstacles it faces around the world.

“We have a very strong track record in cyber security. Huawei has never and will never present a security threat,” he stated.

“Hardship and pressure will only make us more united and stronger. I have no doubt that we will achieve what we’ve set out to do: to bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world,” Guo (pictured, left) said. In the face of adversity, the company will use the “certainty of legal compliance to deal with the uncertainty of international politics”.

Unsurprisingly there was no mention of how the company expects to fare financially in 2019 amid increased tension between Huawei and certain markets (including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the US). But it’s clear that the last twelve months have seen limited impact; Huawei’s 21 per cent revenue growth for 2018 is up from 15 per cent in 2017, while the 200 million smartphone shipments is up from 153 million a year ago.

Guo also noted the company has so far signed 26 commercial 5G contracts with mobile operators.

As for 5G network bans, he argued markets that choose not to work with Huawei will be like an NBA game without star players: “The game will go on, but with less deftness, flair and expertise.”

“Incredibly unfair treatment”
In the message he added: “We must continue to incorporate compliance requirements into all business activities through carefully aligned policy, systems, organisations, processes, culture, training and communications. We must not be discouraged by malicious incidents or temporary setbacks, and must remain determined to achieve global leadership. Setbacks will only make us more courageous, and incredibly unfair treatment will drive us to become the world’s number one.”

In the coming year, he said it will see new waves of development in digitisation and intelligence and may “encounter even greater difficulties”.

In times like this, he said: “We must improve the quality of our operations, inspire passion across the organisation, and continue forging ahead to satisfy customer needs and achieve strategic leadership. No matter what changes we might face, our procurement strategy will remain unchanged. We will keep our policy consistent, especially for our US suppliers and firmly collaborate with them for shared success.”

Noting the trustworthiness of ICT products has become the top concern of its customers, he said Huawei plans to systematically enhance its software engineering capabilities over the next five years, “building trust and high quality into each and every one of our products and solutions”.

Huawei’s rotating chairman Ken Hu said last month the company will invest $2 billion to improve its software engineering processes.