The target was announced by mobile chief Richard Yu Chengdong as the Chinese company launched the latest additions to its mid-range smartphone line-up, the Nova 3 and Nova 3i. Yu said Huawei had shipped 100 million phones as of July 18, the fastest pace of shipments Huawei has seen in years.
"Previously Huawei reached the 100 million shipments mark on December 22, 2015, October 14, 2016 and September 12, 2017. As it's only taken just over six months to reach the target this year, we are now aiming for shipments of 200 million units by the end of 2018," Yu said during the product launch.Huawei's success comes despite headwinds in the global mobile market affecting top brands like Apple and Samsung. In the 2017 fiscal year, Apple sold 216.76 million iPhones, but reported declines in shipments of 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018. Market-leader Samsung finished the year with 317.3 million shipments, but also reported declines in Q1 2018, amounting to a 2.4 percent fall in sales.
Huawei meanwhile shipped a total of 39.3 million phones during the first three months of 2018, gaining ground on Apple's 52.2 million units over the same period, according to an IDC research note released in May.
Huawei calculates its global mobile shipments by combining its Huawei phones and budget Honor-branded phones, which have taken off in the second quarter in Southeast Asian markets, especially India, according to Zaker Li, a senior industry analyst with IHS Markit who spoke to the Morning Post.
"Given that the second half is normally the peak season for smartphone sales as major brands will all release their flagship phones, it will not be difficult for Huawei to exceed 200 million units of phone shipments if it has already completed half of that now," Li said.Since 2013, Huawei's long-term goal has been to become the largest smartphone vendor globally, ahead of Samsung and Apple. Hopes of making that target received a major boost late last year, when Huawei reportedly began discussions with carriers AT&T and Verizon about selling its flagship Android smartphones in the United States as early as 2018.
In January, however, AT&T reportedly dropped plans to carry Mate handsets from the Chinese company at the last minute, after U.S. lawmakers told the carrier it could put future government contracts under threat.
Currently, 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. Huawei is due to release its next-generation flagship Mate series in the third quarter this year.