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Huawei has surpassed Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone brand

  • China's leading smartphone maker has overtaken Apple in global phone sales for the first time, according to a report
  • Huawei is now behind only Samsung in global sales

An attendee uses her smartphone to take a picture of her selfie on the camera app of a P9 smartphone launched by Huawei in India.
Udit Kulshrestha | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An attendee uses her smartphone to take a picture of her selfie on the camera app of a P9 smartphone launched by Huawei in India.

Huawei, China's leading smartphone maker, surpassed Apple's global smartphone sales for the first time in June and July, according to analysis by consulting firm Counterpoint Research.

Huawei is now only behind Samsung in sales, and Counterpoint says that's thanks to the company's consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, as well as aggressive and creative marketing (including this KFC phone).

Figures haven't been released yet for August, though Counterpoint indicates sales for that month also look strong. However, it's worth noting that with Apple's new iPhone releases just around the corner, the iPhone maker is almost certain to get back on top in September.

Researchers at Counterpoint also point out that Huawei has a weak presence in the South Asian, Indian, and North American markets, which "limits Huawei's potential to the near-to-mid-term to take a sustainable second place position behind Samsung." Its strongest market is China, and it's also popular in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Huawei's phones have become popular, thanks to designs with large displays and advanced camera functions. Still, Apple doesn't have much to worry about; Counterpoint says the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remain the world's best-selling smartphones, while Oppo's R11 and A57 claimed the third and fourth spots, respectively, followed by Samsung's Galaxy S8, Xiaomi's Redmi Note 4X, and Samsung's Galaxy S8 Plus. Surprisingly, despite overtaking Apple in global sales, none of Huawei's phones appear on the Top 10 list.

"While Huawei climbed to be the world's second largest brand overall, it is surprising to see none of its models breaking into the top rankings," said Counterpoint Research senior analyst, Pavel Naiya in a statement. "While Huawei has trimmed its portfolio, it likely needs to further streamline its product range like Oppo and Xiaomi have done — putting more muscle behind fewer products."

According to IDC, Apple shipped 41 million iPhones in the second quarter of 2017, compared to Huawei's 38.5 million. We've reached out to Counterpoint Research for further details on the number of devices shipped in June and July.

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