Huawei overtakes Samsung, Apple in smartphone market


Defying the odds, China’s Huawei has only stayed ahead of Apple but also overtaken Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone marker—for April, according to Forbes.

For the Chinese tech giant, this is the first time it has reached the top spot—a welcome respite from recent bad news. The timing of this news, coming just after the US tightened its restrictions on Huawei’s supply chain is ironic.

The latest figures come from the research team at Counterpoint, which confirmed to Gizmochina that “Huawei was the world’s number one smartphone maker with a 19 percent market share,” for a month at least.

Samsung was just behind on 17 percent.

In the aftermath of the US blacklist, which kicked in last May, Huawei’s loss of Google from its new phones has hammered international sales.

But overall sales have been shored up by its stellar performance at home—Huawei’s dominance of its domestic market has gone from strength to strength.

China was the first key market into coronavirus lockdown, hitting smartphone sales hard.

By the same token, it was the first out of lockdown and the first to begin to recover. This favored Huawei. How quickly Samsung’s key markets also begin to recover will determine whether Huawei can hold onto the coveted top spot for another month or maybe even the full quarter.

It was around four years ago that Huawei’s consumer boss, Richard Yu, set the company the target of taking the number one spot within five years.

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Last year, even as the blacklist started to bite, the company overtook Apple to the number two slot and looked set to topple Samsung’s crown. But then the blacklist did start to bite, Huawei’s year ended 50 million smartphones down on its initial forecast.

A Huawei company logo is pictured at the Shenzhen International Airport in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China July 22, 2019/Reuters
A Huawei company logo is pictured at the Shenzhen International Airport in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China July 22, 2019/Reuters. Image source: TBS News

Reports from inside Huawei suggest it expects its first year-on-year decline in 2020.

That news came before the impact of coronavirus on the smartphone industry started to become clear.

This year will be an uncertain sales adventure for all the top manufacturers, and it’s difficult to predict where they will end up. Through that uncertainty, Huawei’s lock on its domestic market will be invaluable.