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Huawei 2021 profit soars 76% on asset sales as CFO Meng returns to spotlight

Huawei Technologies announced on Monday that asset sales helped boost earnings by 76% in 2021, marking the company's first set of financial results after Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returned to China last year after nearly three years in captivity in Canada.

The smartphone and computing giant reported its highest-ever yearly profit of 113.7 billion yuan ($17.8 billion). Asset sales in the aftermath of US sanctions and lower local consumer demand amid the coronavirus epidemic contributed to last year's increase, which was up from just 3.2 percent growth in 2020.

However, revenue fell by 29% to 636.8 billion yuan, which was in line with Huawei's earlier prediction from December.

"Our ability to produce a profit and generate cash flows is rising, and we are better capable of dealing with uncertainty," Meng said at a livestreamed event from the company's Shenzhen headquarters.

Guo Ping, who is presently serving as Huawei's chairman on a rotating basis, said the company's performance was in line with expectations.

Meng's detention in Canada occurred just days before former President Donald Trump's government placed a trade embargo on Huawei, claiming national security concerns. The restrictions prevented the company from adopting Alphabet Inc's Android for its new cellphones, as well as other important American-made technology.

Huawei has decided to sell its mid-range handset division, Honor, in November 2020 as a result of US sanctions and the coronavirus. In March 2021, the company got the first payment for the contract.

Around the same time, Huawei sold its x86 server division.

Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei, was a key figure in Huawei's dispute with the US. She was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 after a New York court issued an arrest warrant, alleging that she attempted to cover up Huawei-linked companies' plans to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions.

She was allowed to go back to China in September last year after reaching an agreement with U.S. prosecutors to end a bank fraud case, and returned to work the following month.

In the years since it came under U.S. sanctions, the company has ramped up research and development in fields such as green power and autonomous driving.

It has also ramped up sales of its existing range of consumer hardware products. Revenue for wearable devices and smart screens grew 30% year-on-year, Huawei said.


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