Huawei is in the news for all the wrong reasons these days, for everything from the arrest of its CFO to US-led opposition to its devices over national security-related fears. Yet despite all that, even with Western governments increasingly banning the company’s devices over Huawei’s perceived ties to China’s central government, the China-based tech giant still managed to post record numbers in 2018, the company announced today — a record driven in large part by its smartphone division that, at least in 2018, was still seeing explosive growth.

Of course, going forward is a different matter. Thanks to the effects of the ongoing US-China trade tensions, and a slowing economy in China, it seems as though the future is going to be less rosy for the company, which made news in recent days for its founder speculating that “mediocre” employees are going to get the ax in light of the challenges ahead.

For now, though, Huawei disclosed today that sales in its consumer business topped a record $52 billion in 2018 fueled by demand for the company’s smartphones. According to the head of Huawei’s consumer division Richard Yu, last year’s 50 percent gain in the company’s consumer business revenue pushed it passed Huawei’s carrier business as its largest division.

Overall, the company’s total revenue in 2018 climbed 21 percent to $109 billion. An impressive total, especially when considering you can’t buy the companies handsets in lucrative markets like the US. But as we said at the outset, there are abundant challenges ahead for the company.

From a CNBC report today:

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has been facing intense scrutiny in the past year over its relationship with China’s government and U.S.-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for spying. The firm has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Some countries such as the United States and its allies, including Australia and New Zealand, have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets. The firm’s finance chief Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, also daughter of its founder, was arrested in Canada last month at the behest of the United States.

Huawei has denied any wrongdoing, the report continues, and Wanzhou has been released on bail in Canada as the United States continues to pursue her extradition on allegations she defrauded banks with Iran-related sanctions.

In light of all this, Huawei’s billionaire founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei wrote the following in an email to company employees in recent days: “In the coming years, the overall situation [at Huawei] will probably not be as bright as imagined. We have to prepare for times of hardship.”