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Huawei hits new sales record

The Chinese telecommunications equipment company almost doubles its international business, boosting revenue to its highest level in 16 years.

Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies hit a new sales record for the year, as its international business surged in 2003.

The company on Tuesday reported global sales of $3.83 billion, a 42 percent increase from the previous year. International sales, which make up roughly 27 percent of the company's overall orders, grew to $1.05 billion in 2003. That compares with $552 million in 2002, a 90 percent increase. The company's domestic market increased 29 percent to $2.78 billion, up from $2.15 billion in 2002.

Huawei, founded in 1988, has become one of the largest suppliers of fixed-line telecommunications equipment in China. Recently, it has been diversifying into new areas of equipment, such as wireless and enterprise gear. It also has started selling products in the United States, Europe and other parts of Asia.

The company continues to push forward with its international strategy by establishing several partnerships with American and European companies. Specifically, it has launched a joint venture with 3Com to sell businesses switching and routing gear. It also agreed to form a joint venture with German telecom company Siemens, and it partnered with Internet Protocol routing vendor Avici Systems, chipmaker Infineon and software giant Microsoft.

While the company has made a name for itself through its cutthroat pricing on high-quality equipment, it also gained notoriety in 2003 for its legal troubles. In January 2003, Cisco Systems filed a lawsuit against Huawei, claiming that it stole and copied pieces of Cisco's software and user manuals. In November, the companies suspended the lawsuit, after Huawei made changes to some of its products.