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Huawei surpasses Apple to become second largest smartphone brand

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Huawei has surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales consistently for June and July, and the momentum is likely to continue, says a report from global research firm Counterpoint.

“This is a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence,” noted Counterpoint’s Research Director Peter Richardson while discussing this key competitive development.

“It speaks volumes for this primarily network infrastructure vendor on how far it has grown in the consumer mobile handset space in the last three to four years.

“The global scale Huawei has been able to achieve can be attributed to its consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, coupled with aggressive marketing and sales channel expansion.”

Richardson adds that this streak could be temporary considering the annual iPhone event is just around the corner which underscores the rate at which Huawei has been growing.

Huawei’s weak presence in the South Asian, Indian and North American markets also limits its potential in the near-to mid-term to take a sustainable second place position behind Samsung.

Huawei is also over-dependent on its home market China where it enjoys the leadership position and operator-centric markets in Europe, Latin America and Middle East.

Talking about future prospects and other findings, Counterpoint’s Associate Director, Tarun Pathak, notes that the growth of Chinese brands is an important trend which no player in the mobile ecosystem can ignore.

“Chinese brands with their dominant position in key markets such as China, Europe, Asia and Latin America have restricted the growth prospects for leading global brands such as Samsung and Apple,” he said.

“Chinese brands are growing swiftly thanks not only to smartphone design, manufacturing capability and rich feature sets, but also by out-smarting and out-spending rivals in sales channels, go-to-market and marketing promotion strategies.”

Pathak adds that “Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have successfully gained access to key supply chain partners, which has allowed them to launch designs with bezel-free, full displays, augmented reality, in-house chipsets and advanced camera features that have kept them toe-to-toe with rivals.”

He stated that these players have become as equally important as Samsung or Apple to the global supply chain as they continue to grow in scale more rapidly than the market share leaders.

Senior Analyst Pavel Naiya Commenting on the best-selling models in the month of July highlighted that Apple is still the world’s best-selling model as it drive its flagship momentum with iPhone 7 & 7 Plus.

Furthermore, OPPO has been one of the fastest growing brands globally due to the popularity of models including the flagship OPPO R11 and the mid-tier OPPO A57 that captured third and fourth spots respectively. This was followed by Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X and Samsung Galaxy S8+.

Apple’s 32GB version of the iPhone 6 enabled it to regain momentum during the month, with popularity across prepaid markets to edge out Samsung’s Galaxy J7.

Naiya noted that while Huawei climbed to be the world’s second largest brand, it is surprising to see none of its models breaking into the top ten rankings.

Huawei currently lacks a true hero device despite having a diverse portfolio, and has to fight on multiple fronts if it does little to build overall brand recognition.

He said the Huawei badly needs if it continues to gain share, and while it has a diverse portfolio, it needs to further streamline its product range like Oppo and Xiaomi and put more muscle behind fewer products

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