MILAN (Reuters) - Chinese telecoms group Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] has increased its sales growth rate target at its enterprise business this year to 40 percent, board member and head of strategy William Xu said on Tuesday.
The world's second-largest telecoms equipment maker had previously forecast that sales at its enterprise division would grow 30 percent in 2014 from the previous year's 15,263 million yuan ($2.45 billion) - more than 6 percent of its total revenue.
"Last year we reached a (sales) growth rate of 32.4 percent and this year we expect to see 40 percent," said Xu, who also heads the enterprise division.
This division is the smallest of the Shenzhen-based group's three major business groups. Its products include data services and building private telecoms networks for companies and organizations.
The other two businesses are the consumer division, which includes smartphone manufacturing, and the network business, which accounted for almost 70 percent of sales last year.
Speaking at an event organized by Huawei in Milan, Xu said the focus of its enterprise business globally was on customers in the finance and transportation industries as well as energy and media.
Turning to the U.S. market, where Huawei has been blocked from certain projects because of security concerns, he said the major focus for the enterprise business was media and education. But when asked if he could give a U.S. sales target he said: "We will take a step by step approach."
Huawei has set up 28 innovation centers with customers around the world, 18 of which are located in Europe, where it now has more than 7,700 employees, according to a Huawei statement.
Xu said the group would hire 5,500 more employees in Europe in the next five years and the number of employees dedicated to research and development will double to more than 1,700.
($1 = 6.2240 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)
Reporting by Danilo Masoni. Editing by Jane Merriman