Chinese device maker Huawei could surpass Apple in the smartphone market this year, according to an analyst from a top research firm.
In the second quarter of this year, Huawei held a 11.3 percent market share, shipping 38.5 million units, IDC data show. Apple meanwhile shipped 41 million iPhones and had a 12 percent market share in the same period.
"Huawei is today the biggest challenger to Apple and Samsung. Indeed they are growing very fast. They will probably overtake Apple in the smartphone business, either this year or next year," Francisco Jeronimo, research director for European mobile devices at IDC, told CNBC in a TV interview last week.
"And this is a huge challenge for Samsung because Huawei aims to become number one. And they are doing extremely well in terms of not just growing the number of units sold, but also in terms of value because for Samsung or for any smartphone maker, it's not about shipping boxes anymore, it's about making money. And we are seeing the prices going up and up."
Huawei has been aggressively investing in its smartphone business in the past two years and has seen impressive growth. It has managed to launch phones at different price points, as well as challenge Apple and Samsung in the high end of the market.
Jeronimo pointed to the recent launch of Huawei's own artificial intelligence (AI) chipset, known as the Kirin 970, as a reason why the Chinese firm could challenge the top two smartphone players.