Huawei Technologies, China's largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, is on course to achieve US$2 billion in sales revenue from overseas markets this year after posting a strong first-quarter performance. Faced with relatively sluggish growth at home, Huawei is concentrating on building its overseas clientele. The company is targeting international sales growth of 100 per cent this year, compared with 10 per cent for the domestic market. 'The growth of our international business is phenomenal,' said Fu Jun, deputy director and company spokesman. 'Most of our overseas markets recorded strong growth in the first quarter.' Huawei makes routers, switches and networks that are 20 per cent cheaper than similar products made by global rivals, such as Cisco Systems of the United States. To accelerate its expansion, the company is preparing for an initial public offering. Company officials have confirmed that an IPO is envisaged but gave no details. The firm has restructured its operations into four business divisions which analysts say will help pave the way for a listing. Market sources said Huawei has appointed accounting firm KPMG to conduct its IPO audit, and China International Capital Corp - an investment banking joint venture between Morgan Stanley and China Construction Bank - as its sponsor. Huawei's listing is widely rumoured to be scheduled for the middle of next year, either on the Hong Kong main board or as a domestic A-share offering. 'Going public is just one way to increase our competitiveness in global markets,' Mr Fu said. He added that overseas listing status would help Huawei build its brand-name in global markets and allow the equipment vendor to enjoy greater flexility in co-operating with overseas partners. However, Mr Fu remained tight-lipped about the timetable and scale of the IPO. First-quarter sales to Asia Pacific, Russia, North Africa and the Middle East were particularly strong, said Mr Fu, who declined to give numbers. He said the first-quarter performance had exceeded expectations, leaving the company's US$2 billion international sales target for the year well within reach. Huawei expects overseas sales to contribute more than 40 per cent of the group's revenue by the end of this year, compared with 27 per cent last year. For the full year, Huawei is targeting overall sales revenue of US$5 billion, or about 30 per cent more than last year. Last year, Huawei's total sales soared 42 per cent to US$3.83 billion.