Huawei Closing in on Apple, Aims to Become World's Largest Smartphone Maker Within Four Years

Since 2011, the worldwide smartphone market has been dominated by Apple and Samsung. The elusive third-best spot, meanwhile, has failed to be held down by one vendor for an extended period of time, changing hands between Nokia, BlackBerry, Xiaomi, and Huawei over the past six years.

huawei-honor
In 2014, it looked like low-priced Chinese vendor Xiaomi had firmly cemented its position as the world's third-largest smartphone maker, but less than three years later, it has fallen out of the top five or even six vendors, according to the latest quarterly data from research firms IDC and TrendForce.

Xiaomi's recent decline can be attributed to a limited physical retail presence and increased competition from Huawei's lower-end Honor brand. Xiaomi continues to avoid selling premium smartphones—its most expensive model costs around $400—and some of its Mi smartphones have received mediocre reviews.

Huawei has since dethroned Xiaomi as not only China's largest smartphone maker, but the world's third largest. And now, the company has its eyes set on challenging Apple and Samsung for the crown, reports Fortune.

"We want to grow into top two market share, and, in the future, top one by 2021," Huawei's consumer head Richard Yu told the publication.

In the first quarter of 2016, Huawei sold ten times as many smartphones as Apple in Finland, according to research firm IDC. In Europe, it is now the top-selling smartphone maker in Portugal and the Netherlands and the second biggest in Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Spain, according to the report.

But if Huawei ever wants to truly challenge Apple and Samsung, it will have to conquer a key market where it has failed to make a dent: the United States. Huawei does not even crack the list of top ten smartphone makers in the country, trailing behind smaller rivals such as BLU and OnePlus.

It doesn't help that Huawei lacks agreements with the U.S.'s "big four" carriers, namely Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. U.S. customers have to resort to retailers such as Best Buy or Walmart, or Huawei's direct sales website, to purchase one of their devices, reducing the brand's visibility in the country.

For its sake, Huawei appears to recognize it needs to take a new approach to the American market:

“The past five years we were not taking the right strategy,” Yu says. “We didn’t have the right people.” Huawei recently hired Michelle Xiong, a former Verizon wireless executive with experience negotiating with device makers, to help sell Huawei’s smartphones. But a Huawei staffer cautions that any carrier agreement is at least a year away, pushing meaningful success in the U.S. at least three years down the road.

Apple reported sales of 45.5 million iPhones in the third quarter, while IDC estimates Huawei shipped 33.6 million smartphones on the quarter, so the Chinese company is within striking range. But whether it can continue its momentum, or fall back into obscurity like Xiaomi, is something only time will tell.

Tags: Huawei, Xiaomi

Top Rated Comments

AppleScruff1 Avatar
61 months ago
So you prefer to buy high profit margin products? How strange...
You must be new here. Welcome to Macrumors where Apple lovers care more about Apple's money than they do their own.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Datalinks Avatar
61 months ago
It won't be difficult if Apple keeps releasing the same phones year after year after year...
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HJM.NL Avatar
61 months ago
As I'm from the Netherlands and seeing lots of people having huawei I can tell you that those phones are very well built and equipped with cameras at least on par with iPhone. Software is latest android with an iOS skin. You can't tell the difference from iOS 10. Google now and services like maps are way better then Apple's offerings. At least google does understand Dutch very well. Also take in consideration huaweis got better screens than iPhone plus (same as Samsung s7 and s7 edge) also they had a dual camera 6 months prior the iPhone 7. 3 years ago nobody noticed huawei here and now they're outselling iPhones. Also far less expensive than Apple. People are starting to notice here you pay a lot of Apple tax and Apple is fast getting yesterday news. If I was mr Cook I would be worried indeed. Huawei delivers where Apple is stalling.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Taipan Avatar
61 months ago
I can hardly imagine anything that I would trust less than a smartphone that's developed, built, installed and sold by a Chinese company.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Thunderhawks Avatar
61 months ago
Stick a fruit on the back and it resembles an iPhone, they sure have the looks.
In their culture it is an HONOR to copy the master.

The closer and better the copy = the more HONOR.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mousse Avatar
61 months ago
If they want to make a dent in the US market, theyneed to drop their god awful UI and stick stock Android on their phones. I got my wife an Honor 5x last year. It's a great phone for the money, but the UI is rubbish. She hated it. I rooted and installed a CyanogenMod on it. Now she loves it...zippy with zero bloatware.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iOS 15 icon on phone

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to Developers

Tuesday August 17, 2021 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming one week after Apple released the fifth betas. Registered developers can download the profile for the iOS and iPadOS betas from the Apple Developer Center, and once the profile is installed, beta updates will be available over the air. iOS 15 is a major update that...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
it home ecommerce app iphone 13

iPhone 13 to Launch on September 17, AirPods 3 on September 30, Claims Report

Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:42 am PDT by
Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 13 on Friday, September 17 and third-generation AirPods on Thursday, September 30, according to an image of an e-commerce app discovered by Chinese language site IT Home. The screenshot, originally posted by Weibo account @PandaIsBald, suggests all four iPhone 13 models will go on sale on September 17, followed by the AirPods 3 on September 30....
MacBook Pro Coating

Apple Launches Quality Program for MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Issues

Saturday October 17, 2015 7:58 am PDT by
Apple has issued an internal notice about a new Quality Program that addresses anti-reflective coating issues on MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, as confirmed by multiple sources. These issues include the anti-reflective coating on displays wearing off or delaminating under certain circumstances. Apple will replace Retina displays on affected MacBook or MacBook Pro models ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...