Ericsson’s sales plunged in China as the Swedish telecoms equipment maker warned it was likely to suffer retaliation due to Sweden banning its Chinese rival Huawei from building 5G networks in the Scandinavian country. Revenues generated in Asia’s biggest economy in the second quarter fell from SKr4.1bn ($470m) a year ago to SKr1.5bn, causing Ericsson’s overall group sales to drop for the first time in three years.
Chief executive Borje Ekholm warned that the group was likely to gain “materially lower market share” in China in the future as a result of Sweden’s decision last year to bar Huawei and ZTE because of worries about espionage and technology theft.
Ericsson and many of its rivals are caught in the middle of a geopolitical struggle over the future of 5G networks. The US has put pressure on its allies to follow its lead and ban Chinese companies from their telecoms networks, with officials in the administration of former president Donald Trump even floating the idea of buying a stake in Ericsson or Finnish group Nokia, the two main rivals to Huawei.
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