U.S. smart phone buyers could soon be enticed by a new vendor. Handset giant Huawei’s smart phones are popular its home market of China. In the third quarter last year, the company sold more phones to Chinese buyers than anyone else, besting both Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) in the process.
Huawei has also found success in Europe, Latin America, and other Asian countries, but remains virtually unknown to Americans. That could be about to change. Given Huawei’s rapid growth and recent success, its slow entrance into the U.S. smart phone market is a trend that could dramatically upend the space.
Huawei shipped 32.4 million smart phones last quarter, according to research firm IDC. That figure was enough to make it the third most popular vendor, behind only Apple and Samsung. Admittedly, the gap between Huawei and the two front-runners was large (Apple shipped more than twice as many phones as Huawei), but Huawei has a considerable lead on its next closest competitor, Lenovo, which shipped nearly 40% fewer handsets.
More impressive than total shipments, however, was Huawei’s growth, the company saw unit shipments surge 37% on an annual basis. Samsung experienced some growth (its unit shipments rose 14%), while iPhone demand was roughly flat. Starting from a smaller base, Huawei’s growth was easier to come by, but if its current success continues, the company could soon close the gap on its larger rivals. Speaking to CNBC last month, a Huawei executive said the company hopes to overtake Apple by 2019, and Samsung by 2021.
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