Huawei has become the first Chinese phone maker to ship over 100 million smartphones annually, beating a general slowdown in the market and challenging leaders like Samsung and Apple.
The Shenzen-based company said that its smartphone shipments grew by 44 percent to 108 million in 2015, mainly thanks to strong sales in China and Europe as it aims to change its budget image and focus on higher margin premium devices.
Huawei’s impressive performance comes when most of those in the industry are expecting a very tough year in 2016. Samsung has already said it expects a difficult year due to weak global economies and more competition, while a report in the Nikkei claims that Apple will cut production of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus by 30 percent in the January-March quarter due to growing inventories.
Analysts have said it’s too early to know whether Huawei will become a major rival to Samsung and Apple, as smaller Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Lenovo often swapped rank in price wars.
“In China it’s true that Huawei grew tremendously over the past six months, but it’s a bit of a dog fight within the Android ecosystem”, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Carolina Milanesi said.
“Huawei’s going after Xiaomi and all the other smaller Android players”.
Huawei is currently a distant third position, with a market share of 7.5 percent in smartphones for Q3. That’s behind Samsung’s 23.8 percent and Apple’s 13.5 percent, according to IDC. Huawei states revenue for its consumer business group (which sells smartphones and tablets) grew 70 percent year-on-year to $20 billion last year.
Globally, IDC claims that smartphone shipments grew 10.4 percent in 2015, down from 27.5 percent the year before.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.