Huawei ships 52M smartphones in 2013, again misses its own target

Huawei reported its full-year 2013 results in its annual report, and noted that higher sales of network gear drove record revenue and net profit last year. However, while Huawei also reported an increase in smartphone sales in 2013, it again missed its own targets for growth in smartphones.

huawei eric xu


In 2013 Huawei's consumer business group, which includes smartphones, saw its sales jump 18 percent to $9.17 billion. In its report, Huawei said its smartphone shipments grew to 52 million in 2013, up more than 60 percent from the 32 million it had in 2012. Smartphones accounted for more than 87 percent of the company's total mobile phone shipments, Huawei said.

However, the 52 million figure is below the 60 million figure Huawei had forecast for 2013 smartphone shipments. Huawei reiterated that 60 million unit forecast in April 2013. In 2012, Huawei had forecast it would ship 50-60 million smartphone units but wound up shipping 32 million.

"While our initial target may have been aggressive, Huawei Consumer BG did ship more than 60 million handsets of which included 52 million smartphone units--that's 60% growth compared to 2012," Huawei said in a statement to FierceWireless. "We aim to become a brand of choice among consumers and a trusted and leading global smartphone brand, so our shipment target for smartphone units in 2014 is 80 million."

"In 2014, we are aiming our sales efforts at improving our branding image," Eric Xu, Huawei's rotating and current CEO, said on Monday, according to Reuters. "At the same time, we are going to build our (smartphone) product portfolio in the mid-range and high level," Xu said.

In 2014 Huawei will likely be pressured by fellow Chinese rival Lenovo, which is buying Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobile division $2.91 billion. Still, according to research firm IDC, Huawei was the No. 3 smartphone vendor for all of 2013, behind Samsung Electronics and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Huawei said it pushed to gain share in smartphones in 2013. The company pointed to its "Make it Possible" marketing campaign, and its efforts to get sponsorships with leading soccer teams in Europe. Huawei also said that, according to a survey by Ipsos, the global brand awareness of its mobile phone business reached 52 percent in 2013, an increase of 110 percent year-over-year. 

Overall, Huawei said its financial performance was strong across all business areas in 2013, with revenue of $38 billion, up 8.5 percent year-over-year. Sales at Huawei's carrier network unit increased 4 percent to $26.7 billion, while the enterprise division increased revenue 32 percent to $2.4 billion. Huawei is targeting 2018 revenue almost double the total revenue the company booked in 2013.

In terms of profit, Huawei said net income for 2013 was around $3.37 billion, up 36 percent from 2012. "Thanks to the favorable global macroeconomic and industry environment, as well as the effective execution of our company strategy, Huawei basically achieved our business targets for 2013," Xu said in a statement.

Huawei, along with ZTE, has been virtually blocked from getting business in the U.S. network gear market because of national security concerns. Huawei has repeatedly called those accusations unfounded. However, in a twist, U.S. officials, which have long branded China's Huawei a security threat, have been spying on the company via so-called "back doors" into the company's servers in Shenzhen, China, according to recent reports from The New York Times and Germany's Der Spiegel.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Huawei report (PDF)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article

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Article updated with a statement from Huawei.