Slowing Growth for China’s Smartphone Market Share Leader

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The top smartphone maker in the Chinese market for each of the first three quarters of this year has been Huawei Technologies. The company’s share has hovered right around 20% of the market.

For the full year, Huawei expects revenue growth of 15% to just over $92 billion. While that sounds terrific, it marks the company’s slowest growth rate since 2013. More competition and near-completion of China’s 4G network share the blame for the slowdown.

Worldwide, Huawei ranks third in sales behind Samsung and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) with a 10.5% share, compared to Samsung’s 22.3% and Apple’s 12.5%, in the third quarter of this year. CEO Ken Hu said Friday that the company expects to ship 153 million units globally this year.

Earlier this year, Huawei indicated that it would focus more on profit than volume and that focus was directed at China’s urban market.

The company’s next target is the high-end global market, where Huawei has invested heavily in an AI chip to compete better against Samsung and Apple. Huawei is particularly interested in gaining share in the U.S. market.

Huawei’s growth issue is not unique. Earlier this month Ryan Reith, an executive at industry analyst firm IDC, said:

Collectively, the industry continues to grow, but at a much slower pace than past years. What is clear is that the ‘Others’ outside of the top 5 leading vendors continue to struggle and the industry leaders are quickly forming two camps. First, those able to drive significant volumes at the high end, which right now is basically Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, despite high-profile launches from Google, Essential, LG, and others. Second, a few other Chinese OEMs that are making tremendous headway outside of the China domestic market.