Huawei Technologies Co. s revenue growth accelerated in the first half as upgraded smartphones and network gear helped China s largest vendor of telecommunications equipment counter deteriorating global demand.The world s third-largest smartphone brand grew revenue 40 percent to 245.5 billion yuan $37 billion in the first six months, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement.

That s up from the 30 percent growth it managed in the first half of 2015.Founded in 1987 by former army engineer Ren Zhengfei, Huawei has sprung to the vanguard of a crop of Chinese smartphone vendors trying to compete with global leaders Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc.

The company used its business of selling networking gear to bankroll an expansion into premium phones, becoming China s biggest mobile label last year.

It plans to sustain its pace of investment in research as carriers prepare to build fifth-generation broadband networks in coming years.

We are confident that Huawei will maintain its current momentum, and round out the full year in a positive financial position backed by sound ongoing operations," Chief Financial Officer Sabrina Meng said.Competition, however, is weighing on profitability.

Huawei s operating margin came to 12 percent in the first half, narrowing from 18 percent in the same period last year.Huawei didn t break out the performance of individual units of a business that also encompasses cloud computing and enterprise services.

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