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Huawei will take out Samsung to become Apple's main competitor in smartphones, says analyst


Chinese smartphone maker Huawei is likely to unseat Samsung to become Apple's biggest rival, Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White told "Squawk Alley."

"I do expect the Chinese to knock off Samsung and that's probably going to be Huawei," he said. "I see it as a Huawei-Apple fight in the future, Samsung and probably some smaller competitors underneath them."

Over the next three to five years some smartphone handset makers will "go by the wayside," he said.

In the fourth quarter of last year Apple and Samsung were roughly tied with around 18 percent of the global smartphone market each, according to IDC. Huawei had almost 11 percent.

GGV managing partner Hans Tung, a venture investor, is similarly skeptical about Samsung's long-term chances against Apple. The smartphone market is saturated and it is becoming harder to excite consumers, even with big press conferences unveiling new devices, like Samsung's Galaxy S8 press conference on Wednesday.

"It is very difficult to come up with a phone that will wow consumers greatly," he said.

Apple has a distinct advantage over both Samsung and Huawei, since it controls both the hardware and software that runs on its devices. "A company like Apple that makes the hardware software together can really differentiate, Samsung cannot," said Tung.

To win market share, smartphone makers must create an ecosystem, something Apple, Samsung and Chinese Xiaomi are all working on, he said.

"If all this is not seamlessly integrated, you will not offer a superior consumer experience and that's what we need to look for from all these phone companies right now," said Tung.

Samsung's new artificially intelligent assistant, Bixby, looks to be "quite rudimentary," he said, although Samsung is just getting started and will no doubt improve the UI as it goes on. "It will be just the beginning," he said.

CNBC: Huawei Mate 9
Todd Haselton | CNBC