Did China's Huawei just beat Apple's smartphone sales?

Did Huawei just outsell Apple’s iPhone?

Chinese tech giant Huawei has made bold claims that it outsold Apple this financial quarter to become the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.

According to Allen Wang, Product Centre Director for Huawei India: “Huawei overtook Apple in global sales volume share in December” – a month that is usually especially strong for Apple.

Samsung currently stands as the largest smartphone manufacturer globally, finding a huge market in Asia’s growing middle-class and the more traditional West.

Huawei’s claims of beating out Apple to the number two spot are certainly surprising.

More: Huawei wins extraordinary patent battle for Samsung 4G tech

Wang credits the success of Huawei’s Honor line of smartphones in India as a big factor in their supposed rise to a 13.2% market share, over Apple’s 12% share.

Huawei’s business model centred on selling Honor devices online at a low cost has made Honor the “world’s number one online brand,” says Wang.

The Chinese manufacturer is looking to push their Honor line, with plans to launch a new model every quarter to “give more choice to customers”.

However, Huawei’s claims have drawn suspicion from market analysts. Data from the end of Q4 2016 indicates that Apple held a 17.8% share of the smartphone market worldwide while Huawei only managed 10.2%.

Even if Huawei’s numbers are correct, the sizeable 7.6% lead achieved by Apple by the end of the Q4 means the American manufacturer was soundly beating Huawei for the rest of the quarter.

While Huawei may be finding success in India, it is currently risking being evicted from the UK mobile phone market altogether.

In April 2017, a UK court ruled against Huawei for using technology owned by Unwired Planet without paying sufficient royalties, breaking UK licensing and patent laws.

Huawei currently faces an injunction that prohibits sale of their devices in the UK unless they can reach a licensing agreement with Unwired Planet.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Huawei is prepared to pay royalties to Unwired Planet on its global sales, but the Chinese company has been bullish in saying its business and profits will not be affected.


Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.
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