Huawei, World’s No. 1 Telecom Equipment Supplier, Nears No. 1 Phone Vendor Spot

(SDN) — HUAWEI Technologies Co. Ltd. is already the global No. 1 telecommunications (telecom) equipment supplier/seller.

It surpassed Ericsson AB in 2018. That’s despite stumbling blocks presented by the United States, Australia, and some members of the European Union.

Don’t look now, but the Chinese giant technology company is currently also on a clear path towards becoming the world’s No. 1 smartphone vendor.

To ascend the summit of the smartphone world, Huawei must overcome South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., which is currently at the top of the heap.

For now, Huawei has already taken down the United States’ Apple Inc. from its position as the former “moved its way into a clear number two spot as the only smartphone vendor at the top of the market that saw volumes grow during 1Q19 (First Quarter 2019).”

This is according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which it released on April 30 last month.

IDC said the Top 5 are: 1. Samsung; 2. Huawei; 3. Apple; 4. Xiaomi; 5. Vivo and OPPO.

Worldwide Quarterly Smartphone Top 5 Company Shipments, 2019Q1 and 2018Q1 (Shipments in millions)
Company 1Q19 Shipment Volumes 1Q19 Market Share 1Q18 Shipment Volumes 1Q18 Market Share Year-Over-Year Change
1. Samsung 71.9 23.1% 78.2 23.5% -8.1%
2. Huawei 59.1 19.0% 39.3 11.8% 50.3%
3. Apple 36.4 11.7% 52.2 15.7% -30.2%
4. Xiaomi 25.0 8.0% 27.8 8.4% -10.2%
5. vivo* 23.2 7.5% 18.7 5.6% 24.0%
5. OPPO* 23.1 7.4% 24.6 7.4% -6.0%
Others 72.1 23.2% 91.9 27.6% -21.5%
Total 310.8 100.0% 332.7 100.0% -6.6%
Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, April 30, 2019

Of the six smartphone manufacturers at the top of the smartphone mountain, aside from Huawei, “Vivo was the only other vendor at the top of the market that was able to grow shipments in 1Q19 with volumes up 24.0%.

On the other hand, Huawei had an impressive showing with its year-over-year (YoY) growth of 50.3%.

For 1Q19, the company, founded on September 15, 1987, in Shenzhen, China, by its CEO Ren Zhengfei, an engineer and erstwhile People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer, it registered volumes of 59.1 million units and a 19.0% market share.

“Huawei is now within striking distance of Samsung at the top of the global market,” the IDC pointed out.

“In China, Huawei continued its positive momentum with a well-rounded portfolio targeting all segments from low to high. Huawei’s high-end models models continued to create a strong affiliation for the mid- to low-end models, which are supporting the company’s overall shipment performance.”

This feat was not lost on IDC.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Huawei is laser focused on growing its stature in the world of mobile devices, with smartphones being its lead horse,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile device Trackers.

“The overall smartphone market continues to be challenged in almost all areas, yet Huawei was able to grow shipments by 50%, not only signifying a clear number two in terms of market share also also closing the gap on the  market leader Samsung. This new ranking of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple is very likely what we’ll see when 2019 is all said and done.”

IDC said the “U.S. market felt the worst of the downturn in 1Q19.” The decline in the American market for smartphone volumes slid down 15% YoY in the said quarter.

“The less than stellar first quarter in the United States can be attributed to the continued downturn we are witnessing at the high end of the market,” Anthony Scarsella, research manager at IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, noted.

He said consumers are still holding on to their phones longer than before, attributing this phenomenon to the pricey new high-end phones having “little incentive to shell out top dollar to upgrade.”

Scarsella also pointed to the pending arrival of 5G handsets as another reason for smartphone owners to hold on until  both the networks and devices emerge ready for prime time in 2020.

Meanwhile, the China market, IDC added, “will likely be challenged for the remainder of 2019.”

Huawei Mate X Foldable Phone and  Huawei P30 Pro with telephoto lens. (Huawei image)

Samsung saw its shipment volumes fall 8.1% in 1Q19 to 71.9 million.

The good thing for the South Korean firm is that the smartphones it sent out were able to keep it ahead of the rest.

But there is no time to waste as Huawei continues to close the gap between the two smartphone leaders.

IDC said “Apple had a challenging first quarter as shipments dropped to 36.4 million units representing a staggering 30.2% decline from last year.”

The iPhone of the American company founded by the late Steve Jobs “struggled to win over consumers in most major markets as competitors continue to eat away at Apple’s market share.”

Number four Xiaomi also took a hit in the same period “with volumes of 25.0 million, which was down 10.2% year over year.”

Vivo is back to the ranks of the Top 5 smartphone market, shipping volumes of 23.2 million that translated to a market share of 7.5%, tying it with OPPO for the number 5 position.”

Vivo and Oppo had the same market share of 7.5%, but with smartphone shipments at slightly lower than the former at 23.1 million units in 1Q19. Oppo also registered a slide at 6.0%.

IDC said shipments felt a deeper decline in 1Q19, while the Top 5 smartphone market leaders experienced a clear changing of positions.

On the other hand, it’s only the preliminary data, said IDC, saying smartphone vendors shipped a total of 310 million units in said period, a decline that has now covered six quarters from 2018 to 2019. (Edd K. Usman)

Source of featured image of Huawei Headquaters courtesy of Wikipedia.

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