Huawei overtakes Samsung to become world's largest smartphone maker

The first time since 2011 where the top spot is not held by Apple or Samsung.

Julia Yeo | July 30, 2020, 06:23 PM

Chinese electronics giant Huawei has overtaken Samsung to become the world's biggest smartphone maker in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020.

Boosted by Chinese market

This is the first time Huawei has overtaken the South Korean tech firm, according to a report by Canalys, an analytics firm, after the firm shipped more smartphones worldwide than any other vendor for the first time in Q2 2020.

It is also the first time since 2011 where the top spot is held by a firm besides Apple and Samsung.

This achievement comes despite restrictions by the United States (U.S.) government on Huawei's business in the country, which contributed to a fall in overseas shipments of 27 per cent.

However, its sales were boosted by the domestic market, with Chinese shipments increasing by eight per cent in Q2 2020, selling over 70 per cent of its smartphones in mainland China.

Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices, down five per cent year-on-year. However, Samsung shipped 53.7 million smartphones, a 30 per cent fall against Q2 2019.

Huawei's remarkable success thanks to Covid-19

"This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago," said Canalys Senior Analyst Ben Stanton in the report.

"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 one per cent market share, and has seen its core markets, such as Brazil, India, the United States and Europe, ravaged by outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns."

However, Canalys analyst Mo Jia said that it will be difficult for Huawei to maintain its lead for the long term, considering that its major channel partners in regions such as Europe have been increasingly wary of Huawei.

"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," Mo Jia warned. "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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Top image via Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images