Despite being placed on a list by the Trump Administration that bans US companies from doing business with it, Huawei took the second spot in smartphone sales in 2019. Both market research firms Counterpoint and Canalys say Huawei overtook Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone brand last year.
According to Counterpoint, Huawei shipped 238.5 million smartphones in 2019, up from 205.3 million units in 2018. Meanwhile, Canalys’ latest data suggests Huawei shipped 240.6 million smartphones last year, improving 14.8 per cent from 206.0 million units in 2018.
Apple, in contrast, slipped to the third position with 196.2 million iPhones shipped in 2019. Counterpoint noted that Apple’s performance in the last three months was phenomenal, thanks to the arrival of the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 has performed exceedingly well in major markets, including China and India.
Samsung, as expected, remained the top smartphone brand with close to 300 million smartphones shipped in 2019. The big takeaway is that Samsung’s performance in the final quarter was actually flat.
Huawei, of course, is going through a bad phase. The US ban on Huawei has substantially impacted the brand’s smartphone business in key international markets, including India. Huawei can’t launch new smartphones with Google Mobile Services (GMS) in major markets due to the White House banning US companies to work with the Chinese tech giant. This limits Huawei’s position in markets out of China.
For Huawei, the good news is that the company is performing well in its home market. In fact, Huawei is the undisputed king in China’s smartphone market, where its market share has reached as high as 43 per cent. Ongoing nationalist sentiments in China could be the reason why consumers are buying Huawei smartphones.
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But the bigger challenge for Huawei will be to increase its presence and market share in markets like Western Europe, the Middle East, and India. That’s critical for Huawei’s growth in the longer run. Huawei is aware of the same and perhaps why it is wooing developers to make apps for its Harmony OS.
It is a known fact that Huawei is working on alternatives to Google Mobile Services – the Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps and other Google services. The company is committed to investing billions of dollars in creating new apps and services that will run on its Huawei smartphones. Reuters recently reported that Huawei will use TomTom’s mapping solutions on the Chinese company’s future smartphones and tablets.
Huawei is rumoured to announce its strategy to replace Google Mobile Services (GMS) on its devices later this month. The announcement will likely be made on February 23 at MWC 2020.
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