China\u2019s Huawei Technologies said Tuesday that its sales rose a lower-than-projected 18 percent in 2019 and predicted tough times ahead as the US moves to restrict its business.\r\nThe flash sales estimate came in an annual New Year\u2019s message to employees. Chairman Eric Xu warned that mediocre managers would face demotion as the telecom giant and leader in 5G mobile technology focuses on survival\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s going to be a difficult year for us,\u201d he wrote, calling on the company\u2019s more than 190,000 employees \u201cto work hard and go the extra mile to bring their capabilities to a new level.\u201d\r\nNo one is predicting Huawei\u2019s demise. The unlisted company, a major maker of both mobile transmission equipment and handsets, estimated 2019 sales would rise to more than 850 billion yuan ($120 billion).\r\n\u201cThese figures are lower than our initial projections, yet business remains solid and we stand strong in the face of adversity,\u201d Xu said in the letter, which was released to the AP and other media.\r\nHuawei, based in the tech hub of Shenzhen in southern China, typically releases its official and audited annual financial results in March.\r\nThe US government says Huawei technology poses a security risk and has urged other countries not to buy its 5G mobile network equipment. It has also put Huawei on its entity list, blocking US technology sales to the company. Huawei denies the allegation.\r\nCalling difficulty, the prelude to greater success, Xu said America\u2019s \u201cstrategic and long-term\u201d campaign against Huawei is an opportunity to build up some muscle and build capabilities to navigate future challenges.\r\n\u201cDespite concerted efforts by the US government to keep us down, we\u2019ve made it out the other side and continue to create value for our customers,\u201d he wrote.\r\nThe five-page letter exhorts employees to hone their skills and rid themselves of complacency. Saying that survival is the company\u2019s top priority, Xu warns that mediocre managers \u201cwho have lost their enterprising spirit\u201d will be removed faster than before.