Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou makes her first appearance since returning from Canada as the company says it is assessing Russian sanctions

“Huawei is deeply concerned about this war and the suffering it has caused people,” Rotating Chairman Guo Ping said in Shenzhen on Monday, responding to a reporter’s question. “As to [sanctions] you mentioned, we have also noticed that some countries and regions have introduced some policies. These policies and measures are complex and constantly changing, and Huawei is still in the process of careful evaluation.”

Guo’s statement largely coincided with Beijing’s position to refrain from joining Western sanctions against Russia, while trying to avoid overt aid to Russia that could trigger secondary sanctions on Chinese companies.

He said Huawei had no immediate plans for its HarmonyOS smartphone operating system abroad, following speculation it could be used in Russia as an alternative to Google’s Android. Before the war, Huawei had hired engineers in Russia to help develop HarmonyOS.

Looking calm and cheerful, Meng resumed her role of presenting the financial report at the beginning of the meeting, saying it was the first time in four years. He made a sidelong allusion to his arrest and legal battle in Canada.

“In the last four years, there have been tremendous changes in the world and in China,” he said. β€œIn the few months that I’ve been back, I’ve been trying to catch up. I hope to catch up.”

A Huawei spokesman who moderated Monday’s event told reporters that Meng would not answer questions about her case in Canada.

Meng’s detention in Canada at the request of US officials in December 2018 sparked a hostage standoff in which China arrested two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and accused them of espionage. Meng was indicted in the United States on fraud charges related to her representation of Huawei’s relationship with an affiliated company operating in Iran, and has pleaded not guilty.

But in a deal with the US Department of Justice in September 2021, acknowledged helping to conceal the company’s direct dealings in Iran, which violated US sanctions. That month, Meng returned to China and the “Two Michaels” returned to Canada.

Huawei said on Monday that its revenue fell 28.6 percent in 2021 from a year earlier as it sold its Honor smartphone business due to a lack of chip supply under US sanctions. But the company said its profit rose 75.9 percent thanks to the sale of part of its business and other factors, including “optimizing our product mix.”

Despite concerted efforts by the United States and its allies to hamper its global advance, Huawei remained the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier in 2021 by sales, with a 28.7 percent market share, according to the firm. of Dell’Oro research.

Huawei said it increased its percentage of revenue invested in research and development to 22.4 percent in 2021, its highest level in a decade.

The company has also branched out into businesses that can better survive without American chips. Meng’s father, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, announced in November the launch of five new units focused on providing technology for coal mines, customs and ports, smart highways, data center power solutions and smart photovoltaics.

On Monday, Guo said he believed that the wisdom of the leaders of different countries could solve the Ukraine crisis.

“Like everyone else, Huawei hopes to see peace, a ceasefire and an end to the war as soon as possible,” he said.

Pei Lin Wu contributed to this report.

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