Huawei Could Pass Apple as World’s No. 2 Smartphone Company

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If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) management looks over its shoulder, it will see someone is gaining on it. That would be Chinese smartphone company Huawei, which nearly caught Apple in global third-quarter sales, according to new research.

That research:

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 5 percent annually to reach 393 million units in Q3 2017. Samsung maintained first position with 21 percent global smartphone marketshare, while Apple held steady at 12 percent share. Xiaomi was the star performer, almost doubling its smartphone shipments from a year ago.

Huawei’s global market share reached 9.9%. At its current growth rate, it could challenge Apple for the number two position, although massive iPhone 8 and iPhone X sales may prevent that. However, the researchers say these sales may not be enough. Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, said:

Huawei maintained third position with 10 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q3 2017, up from 9 percent in Q3 2016. Huawei continues to close in fast on Apple and the battle for second place in the smartphone market will be tight next year. Huawei is performing well across Asia, Europe and Africa with popular Android models such as the P10 and Nova 2.

Two other Chinese companies also did particularly well in the third quarter. While Samsung’s market share reached 21.2%, up from 20.1% in the same period last year, Apple’s fell from 12.1% to 11.9%. But OPPO’s rose from 5.8% to 8.0% and Xiaomi’s from 3.9% to 7.9%.

Apple says it has to do well in China to reach its long-term goals. In the meantime, three Chinese companies are successfully chasing it worldwide.

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Marketshare in Q3 2017

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units) Q3 ’16 Q3 ’17
Samsung 75.3 83.4
Apple 45.5 46.7
Huawei 33.6 39.1
OPPO 21.6 31.4
Xiaomi 14.5 27.7
Others 184.4 164.8
Total 374.9 393.1
Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare (%) Q3 ’16 Q3 ’17
Samsung 20.1% 21.2%
Apple 12.1% 11.9%
Huawei 9.0% 9.9%
OPPO 5.8% 8.0%
Xiaomi 3.9% 7.0%
Others 49.2% 41.9%
Total 100.0% 100.0%
Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%) 5.8% 4.9%
Source: Strategy Analytics