Huawei dislodges Samsung as top smartphone maker in Q2

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Although facing huge challenges in the West, Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has, for the first time, overtaken South Korean electronics company Samsung as the world’s biggest smartphone maker in Q2 2020.

This is according to market analyst firm Canalys, which says Huawei shipped more smartphones worldwide than any other vendor in Q2 2020.

The market analyst firm says it marks the first quarter in nine years that a company other than Samsung or Apple has led the market.

According to Canalys, Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices, down 5% year-on-year, and second-placed Samsung shipped 53.7 million smartphones, a 30% fall against Q2 2019.

It notes Huawei is still subject to US government restrictions, which have stifled its business outside of mainland China.

Huawei’s overseas shipments fell 27% in Q2, says Canalys. However, it notes the company has grown to dominate its domestic market, boosting its Chinese shipments by 8% in Q2, and it now sells over 70% of its smartphones in mainland China.

China has emerged strongest from the coronavirus pandemic, with factories reopened, economic development continuing and tight controls on new outbreaks, Canalys explains.

“This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago,” says Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton.

“If it wasn’t for COVID-19, it wouldn’t have happened. Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business. Samsung has a very small presence in China, with less than 1% market share, and has seen its core markets, such as Brazil, India, the United States and Europe, ravaged by outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns.”

“Taking first place is very important for Huawei,” says Canalys analyst Mo Jia. “It is desperate to showcase its brand strength to domestic consumers, component suppliers and developers.

“It needs to convince them to invest, and will broadcast the message of its success far and wide in the coming months.”

However, Jia says, it will be hard for Huawei to maintain its lead in the long term. “Its major channel partners in key regions, such as Europe, are increasingly wary of ranging Huawei devices, taking on fewer models, and bringing in new brands to reduce risk. Strength in China alone will not be enough to sustain Huawei at the top once the global economy starts to recover.”

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