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Huawei says its first-quarter revenue jumped 39% despite political pressure

CNBC logo CNBC 4/22/2019 Arjun Kharpal
a group of people in a dark room: Visitors pass in front of the Huawei's stand on the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelonaon on February 27, 2017 in Barcelona.© Provided by CNBC LLC Visitors pass in front of the Huawei's stand on the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelonaon on February 27, 2017 in Barcelona.

Huawei reported a 39 percent year-on-year increase in first-quarter revenue on Monday as it continues to see growth despite continued political pressure.

The China networking equipment maker said revenue totaled 179.7 billion yuan ($26.8 billion) for the first three months of 2019. The company said it shipped 59 million smartphones in the first quarter.

Huawei said in a press release that 2019 "will be a year of large-scale deployment of 5G around the world" and its carrier business "has unprecedented opportunities for growth." By the end of March, Huawei had signed 40 commercial contracts for 5G with leading global carriers. 5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile networks that promises super-fast data speeds with the ability to support new technologies like driverless cars.

It's the first time ever that Huawei has released a quarterly earnings report. The company usually reports financial results for half a year and then the full year. Now, however, the company is seeking to show it is still growing despite effectively being banned from being involved in the rollout of 5G in Australia and Japan.

The U.S. has reportedly tried to pressure other allied countries like Germany and the United Kingdom to block Huawei from 5G, but neither country has done so yet. Washington has accused Huawei of being a national security risk, warning that its equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage purposes. Huawei has repeatedly denied this claim.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei said that the U.S. has been helping advertise for the company by talking about it so much.

"For such a powerful country to be scared of a small company like us, some other countries are saying, 'Your products are so good that the U.S. government is scared. We won't test your products. We'll buy them directly.' That's why some deep-pocketed countries with rich oil reserves are buying from us. They are buying our products in large quantities as the U.S. government is advertising for us," Ren said without specifying the nations he referred to.

Ren also projected that, over the next five years, Huawei will grow its revenue to $250 billion from $100 billion last year.

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