According to market analysts Gartner, Huawei overtook Apple in the second quarter as the world’s number two phone maker. Samsung remains in first place. Furthermore, in its first full-quarter statement, April to June saw the Chinese tech giant outselling Apple globally.
Gartner recorded that Huawei did particularly well in emerging markets such as India. According to Gartner’s figures Huawei saw a 38% growth in such markets, despite the countries averaging just 4-5% growth themselves. Gartner was confident that Huawei could continue to see strong growth as it could exploit under-served markets such as Latin America.
This rosy picture is in contrast to the overall global sales of mobile phones. Western Europe, for instance, saw a 13% decline in the first quarter with the UK seeing a dramatic 29.6% year-on-year fall.
Overall, smartphone sales worldwide were 374.3 million in the second quarter compared to 366.6 million a year ago.
Among the reasons for the decline, say experts, has been a general boredom with new features. Anshul Gupta, from Gartner put this down to resistance from top-end owners having little reason to upgrade. But he didn’t believe, for instance, the £1,000 price tag was a problem for Apple devotees. And this loyalty certainly helped Apple as profit margins remained strong despite flat sales.
And while demand for the iPhone X exceeded demand for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in many markets, demand has begun to slow down much earlier than had been seen in the past. Nevertheless, Apple has responded to the maturing market and is expected to unveil a lower-cost iPhone among three new models next month.
Founded in 1987 by ex-military officer Ren Zhengfei, Huawei is now the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer.
Beginning as a small private company, Huawei’s growth has mirrored the rapid development of China as an economic global player. In particular the role China has historically played as one of the most innovative countries in the world.
In 2017 global profits for Huawei jumped 28% to $7.3 billion. This despite the controversy in America when US intelligence agencies warned Americans not to buy Huawei’s phones claiming the devices were a security threat.
Then in March President Donald Trump pulled the plug on a $117 billion takeover of Broadcom by its rival Qualcomm because of concerns that the deal would give Huawei an advantage in the race to introduce 5G in the US.
Image: Robert Radke