Huawei passes Apple in phone share for 1st time

By BLOOMBERG

BEIJING • Huawei Technologies Co pulled ahead of Apple Inc to claim the No 2 position in global smartphone shipments in the second quarter (2Q) just behind Samsung Electronics Co, solidifying the rise of Chinese competitors.

Huawei shipped 54.2 million phones in the quarter, 41% more than a year earlier, to jump ahead of the iPhone maker for the first time, according to market research firm IDC. The telecoms giant accounted for 16% of the market, compared to 21% for South Korea’s Samsung and 12% for Apple. Xiaomi Corp and Oppo, both based in China, rounded out the top five.

Chinese smartphone makers have been gaining influence as their domestic market grows and they expand abroad. Huawei has pushed into Europe and Africa, though it’s failed to crack the massive US market. Apple tends to sell iPhones at higher prices than its rivals and profits from services like iTunes, which helped it top earnings estimates for the quarter.

“The importance of Huawei overtaking Apple this quarter cannot be overstated,” said Ben Stanton, a senior analyst at Canalys, which also reported the shift in quarterly market share. “It is the first time in seven years that Samsung and Apple have not held the top two positions. Huawei’s exclusion from the US has forced it to work harder in Asia and Europe to achieve its goals.”

Canalys pointed out that the 2Q has historically been a weak one for Apple.