Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei Warns of $100 Billion USD Revenue Dip Amidst U.S. Blacklisting

Huawei Technologies founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Monday that the Chinese phone maker’s troubles with the US could take a huge toll on the company in the coming months.

Ren expects the company’s revenue to go down to around $100 billion USD — dropping by as much as 60 percent — in 2019 and 2020 as a result of the U.S. ban, Bloomberg reported.

Acknowledging for the first time the likely impact on Huawei of US action, Ren said on Monday that total revenue was now expected to remain stagnant at around the $100 billion USD level in 2019 and 2020. He also said overseas smartphone sales had dropped 40 percent, without specifying the time period.

“We did not expect that the U.S. would attack us with such determination and on such a large scale,” he said during a panel discussion at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen. “We made some preparations, such as for the core business part, but we have been unable to protect some of the secondary parts [of our business].”

Ren was speaking during an open panel discussion called “A coffee with Ren”, in which Huawei’s founder held a wide-ranging talk with two American technologists, George Gilder and Nicholas Negroponte. Although speaking in a slightly softer tone than his usual direct style, Ren nevertheless remained upbeat about his company’s long-term future.

“After all this, we will become even stronger,” he said. “We are the birds that will never die.”

Ren added that he expects a revival in business in 2021, the first time a new administration could possibly take control of the White House.

The Department of Commerce blacklisted Huawei in May, a move that barred U.S. firms from working with the company, arguing Huawei’s products pose a national security risk. Implementation of the ban was delayed by 90 days to give tech companies more time to prepare for the change.

Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications equipment company and makes networking equipment that’s already installed in communities across the United States. Huawei denies its products pose a security threat.

In related news, Huawei has decided to push the release of the Mate X from June to September, noting that it’s taking a “cautious” approach to the handset’s release following the issue-ridden launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.

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