Huawei's CEO isn't worried about $30B revenue hit from US ban

The company still expects to pull in $100 billion in revenue this year, Ren Zhengfei tells CNBC, adding that he would answer if President Donald Trump ever called.

Huawei is staying calm about its financials in the midst of the drama.
Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei is set to lose $30 billion this year because of trade problems with the US and other countries around the world. But the company's CEO, Ren Zhengfei, isn't stressing out about it, he told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday.

Huawei's original forecast for this year was $130 billion, but at an event on Monday, Ren said the company had reassessed its expectations. The company, the second largest phone brand in the world, is still expecting to pull in $100 billion of revenue in 2019, he told CNBC, which was roughly the same as last year.

"I don't see that problem, because in the Chinese market, the consumer business has not seen a decline," he said. "We believe the $30 billion US will be a very small thing."

The US has ramped up its actions against the company this year, even banning the sale of Huawei phones. This is having a ripple effect around the world, as other countries mull potential security dilemmas posed by the company -- in particular its telecommunications infrastructure equipment -- with the rollout of 5G. Huawei has consistently denied that its phones and other products are a security risk and insisted it doesn't have strong, far-reaching links with China's ruling Communist Party.

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During the interview, Ren also said he would take President Donald Trump's phone call if it was ever on offer.

"Of course I would like to pick it up," CNBC translated Ren as saying. "We can communicate and achieve cooperation, to achieve win-win ... let's work together to build an informed society. We can all contribute, because US is still very leading and advanced, and Huawei will only be able to be leading in a very focused area."

The interview follows President Trump reportedly telling the press in late May that he could use an offer to reverse the blacklisting of Huawei as leverage in the escalating Chinese-American trade tensions.

The US last month added Huawei to its "entity list," and Trump signed an executive order essentially banning the company in light of national security concerns that Huawei had close ties with the Chinese government.

Huawei had filed a motion in US court to have US legislation that bars federal agencies from buying its products ruled unconstitutional, and has also sent an ex parte memo to the FCC in which it objects to being banned on the grounds of national security threats.

Hardware and software vendors have been fleeing Huawei:Amazon Japan reportedly no longer offers Huawei devices for sale, and last month, Google locked Huawei out of its Android updates, though the US Commerce Department granted it a three-month general license to update existing devices.

In a turnaround, Microsoft began selling its existing inventory of Huawei MateBook laptops earlier this week, saying it "will continue to respond to the many business, technical and regulatory complexities."

Huawei at the end of May moved to trademark the name of its operating system, Hongmeng, in Peru.

First published at 5:50 a.m. PT on June 19.  
Updated at 3:33 p.m. PT: adds info on Ren answering Trump call; adds background on Huawei ban