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A shopper tries a smartphone at a Huawei store in Beijing on Sept. 8, 2020.

Ng Han Guan/The Associated Press

China’s Huawei Technologies reported modest annual profit growth for 2020 as overseas revenues declined due to disruption caused by the pandemic and the company’s placement on a U.S. export blacklist.

Net profit for 2020 came in at 64.6 billion yuan ($9.83 billion), up 3.2 per cent, compared to growth of 5.6 per cent a year earlier.

Huawei was put on an export blacklist by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 and barred from accessing critical technology of U.S. origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors.

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The ban put Huawei’s handset business under immense pressure, with the company selling off its budget smartphone unit to a consortium of agents and dealers in November 2020 to keep it alive.

Yet Huawei reported that its consumer business, which includes smartphones, brought in 482.9 billion yuan, up 3.3 per cent year on year, and accounted for over half of the company’s revenue.

The rise in part was thanks to growth in devices such as smartwatches and laptops, a Huawei spokesman said.

The company’s carrier business, which includes 5G network equipment, brought in 302.6 billion yuan, an increase of just 0.2 per cent a year earlier.

Huawei’s growth was driven by its home market, with revenue in China up by 15.4 per cent to 584.9 billion yuan.

Its business declined everywhere else, with revenues down 12.2 per cent to 180.8 billion yuan in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, down 8.7 per cent to 64.4 billion yuan in the rest of Asia, and down 24.5 per cent to 39.6 billion yuan from the Americas.

Revenue from the company’s enterprise segment soared 23 per cent year on year to 100.3 billion yuan, although it still makes the smallest in revenue of the three business groups.

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The company invested 141.9 billion yuan in R&D spending in 2020, up from 131.7 billion yuan a year earlier.

Huawei’s cash flow from operating activities was 35.2 billion yuan, down by 61.5 per cent on a year earlier.

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