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Huawei Overtakes Apple to Become Second Largest Smartphone Vendor

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Huawei has leapfrogged Apple to become the world’s second largest smartphone maker during the second quarter of 2018.

According to new data from Canalys and other analysts, Apple has fallen behind China’s Huawei in smartphone unit sales and that the overall global smartphone market declined 1.8% in the second calendar quarter of 2018. Apple falls into the number three spot, with Huawei at number two and Samsung holding fast to number one.

The embattled Chinese phone maker shipped 54 million handsets in the quarter, an increase of 41 percent over last year, researcher Canalys reported. Its success was due in part to strong demand for its flagship P20 handset and its Honor sub-brand.

South Korean consumer electronics titan Samsung remained the top smartphone maker, shipping 71.5 million handsets, but Huawei moved into the second position with shipments of 54.2 million, according to IDC. Silicon Valley-based Apple shipped 41.3 million iPhones, claiming 12.1 percent of the global market compared to 20.9 percent for Samsung and 15.8 percent for Huawei.

“Huawei’s strategy has evolved significantly over the last six months,” Canalys analyst Mo Jia said in a statement. “Despite its failure to strike a US carrier partnership earlier this year, the company has turned around quickly, moving away from its drive for profitability and focusing instead on finding volume growth at the low end.”

In its home market, Huawei is the leading smartphone maker. For the second quarter, it reached a record-high market share of 27% in China, thanks in part to strong demand for its P20 and P20 Pro models, which sell for $600 to $800 USD and were released in March.

The milestone is a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for Huawei. The company, which makes carrier networking equipment in addition to phones, has come under fire from from former Canadian government officials as well as the heads of the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency, who during open Congressional testimony in February advised Americans not to purchase or use Huawei products and services out of concerns they’re used to spy.

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