Between 2015 and 2018 Huawei’s share rose from 24% to 28%; Nokia’s dipped from 20% to 17% and Ericsson’s from 15% to 13%. An escalation in the war on Huawei might prompt Beijing to retaliate by kicking Western firms out of China.
That would be a blow to the Nordic duo. China accounted for 10% of Ericsson’s 211bn krona ($24.2bn) in global sales last year. The company runs two research and development sites in China. Nokia derives a similar share of revenues from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Extra sales in Europe in the event of a Huawei ban would not offset losses in China, argues Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research, not least because the Chinese will launch 5g a year or two earlier.
More important, worries Börje Ekholm, chief executive of Ericsson, a ban on Huawei would slow down the launch of 5g in Europe