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Huawei's default settings look like melodrama for the bad times and humility for the good. When first struck by US sanctions, the Chinese equipment maker compared itself to a fighter plane hit by flak whose sole mission was to remain airborne. After gaining significant altitude last year for the first time since 2019, it showed restraint rather than jubilation. "We've been through a lot over the past few years. But through one challenge after another, we've managed to grow," said Hu Houkun, the rotating chairman currently sitting in the pilot's seat, in its latest annual report. If US sanctions were intended to put Huawei in a fatal tailspin, they have missed their target. Yes, the company's sales last year were 21% down on the high point of 2020. But that is due entirely to a collapse in Huawei's smartphone business and not to any engine problems in networks, the unit that supposedly had US authorities in such a panic. Their justification for cutting Huawei off from vital US technologies (not, seemingly, as vital as everyone thought) was that dastardly Chinese forces might slip something nasty into Huawei's network products, then popular among US allies. Strikingly, this networks unit – today called the "ICT infrastructure" business – last year outperformed both Ericsson and Nokia, Nordic rivals allowed to cruise freely through the airspace in Europe and other countries that Huawei had previously occupied. Its headline revenues were up 2.3%, to about 362 billion Chinese yuan (US$50 billion). On a constant-currency basis, Nokia's (generated almost entirely from network sales) fell 8% while revenues at Ericson's mobile networks unit dropped 15%. Both European companies were badly hurt by spending cuts in the US, from which Huawei has been largely excluded for years. And while Huawei has lost a few deals in Europe and other pro-US countries, American lawmakers can do little about its position in China, home to about 1.4 billion people and gazillions of mobile sites. Indeed, that position looks even stronger. An unwelcome consequence of the European backlash against Chinese vendors seemed to be the loss by Ericsson and Nokia of market share in a retaliatory China. At Ericsson, which breaks out the figure, China sales dropped from 15.9 billion Swedish kronor ($1.5 billion) in 2019 to SEK10.7 billion ($1 billion) last year. Operators still buying network products from Huawei do not appear to have seen the drop-off in performance that someone buying a Huawei smartphone amid sanctions would have experienced. This is partly because Huawei has always designed its network software, while its smartphones previously used the Android operating system that originated with Google. On the network side, it also looks more self-sufficient in hardware. What it currently lacks is access to Samsung and TSMC, the world's most advanced chip foundries, both furnished with US tools. Networks, however, are typically a couple of generations behind smartphones on the size of transistors. Forthcoming iPhones will reportedly feature chips based on the 2-nanometer (billionths of a meter) process. The Nokia base stations that include 5-nanometer chips are considered cutting-edge. However its products measure up against those of Ericsson and Nokia, Chinese operators source a bigger share of their equipment from Huawei and local rival ZTE than they ever have. As 5G matures, and questions surround the telco investment case for a future splurge on even more advanced equipment, Huawei faces many of the same business-model challenges as its Western rivals. But unlike those companies, it has several growth stories to tell. These include a consumer unit in apparent recovery. Huawei seems to have obtained 7-nanometer chips from SMIC, a Chinese foundry and used these along with in-house 5G designs and operating-system software to produce a smartphone branded the Mate 60 Pro, confounding critics who assumed US sanctions had put such technologies beyond reach. Demand for that gadget helped to boost consumer revenues by 17%, to about RMB251 billion ($34.7 billion). Interested, Want More, please visit OUR FOURM.