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What Huawei’s Growth Means for Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia

Let’s hope Huawei's prediction for 2023 is true and they show growth. And let’s hope it spreads to the companies they compete with.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at JeffKagan.com and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at JeffKagan.com and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.

Huawei has taken it on the chin in recent years, as the U.S. government has knocked the Chinese firm out of the country’s wireless networks and urged its allies to limit activities with them. Despite the company’s efforts to regroup, it did not see growth over the past year. Nonetheless, Hauwei says things have stabilized, and that 2023 will once again be a year of growth.

The question is, will Huawei’s assertion prove true? And will it be able to stand out among its competitors, including Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia and other wireless players?

I hope so because if growth is there for Huawei, that could mean the same for their top competitors, who have also been struggling amid the dual challenges of a weak economy and global chip shortage.

Remember, Huawei is not a public company. They are a private Chinese company owned by their employees. As such we don’t get to know everything there is to know about the company, their position, their current state, their future plans and so on.

Huawei’s biggest global competitor in 5G wireless on the global stage is Qualcomm. There are also many other firms that compete, to one degree or another — yes, Ericsson and Nokia, but also: Cisco, Apple, Juniper, ZTE, D-Link, Fortinet, Arista Networks, VMware, Dell Technologies, Extreme Networks, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Sony, Samsung and HTC.

All these companies are very important — and economically critical — to every country around the globe since they keep our wireless networks running around the world. They continually manage and upgrade from 2G to 3G to 4G to 5G, where we are today, and beyond.

Weak Economy’s Impact

That being said, the weak economy and chip shortages are two areas that are impacting all players. The good news is, because the wireless industry remains critical to every country in the world, the market is not going to disappear. It will only continue to grow going forward. It’s the pace of growth that’s in question.

Many think these companies may and should be bullet-proof — and they are, to a point. Wireless continues to upgrade and advance on an ongoing basis and demand tends to follow.

However, we are also seeing wireless companies in this space take some very drastic and dramatic cost-cutting actions because the economy is impacting them significantly.

This is frightening to their investors, customers and workers. The truth is the weak economy is cutting into the strong and historic level of growth in the wireless industry that would normally be expected moving to 5G if the economy was strong.

To be sure, not every wireless company is being impacted. There are many that are continuing to show strong growth and forward momentum. At the same time, current economic problems will eventually abate. Things will get back to normal.

All that being said, in today’s marketplace Huawei says they are strong. They say to expect growth in 2023 even though 2022 was flat. I hope they are right. If it happens with Huawei, perhaps we can expect the same to happen at other impacted companies like Qualcomm, Nokia, Ericsson and other competitors in the space.

Qualcomm, which is the top competitor to Huawei made some good moves in recent years diversifying the areas they focus on. They have grown and expanded beyond 5G and wireless into other sectors like AI, IoT, automotive and automated driving, healthcare and other areas as well. But Qualcomm is still impacted by the weak economy.

Bottom line: Let’s hope the Huawei prediction for 2023 is true and they will show growth. And let’s hope if this does happen, this good news will spread to the many companies they compete with. Wireless is not going away: It will remain one of the key drivers of economic growth in every country around the world.