Huawei, the Chinese smartphone giant, has overtaken Apple as the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker by sales, sending the maker of the iPhone to third place for the first time since Nokia and Blackberry ruled the market.
According to figures from Counterpoint Research, the market share of Huawei has exceeded Apple’s in June and July. While the decline is expected to be temporary, with Apple’s announcement of a new range of iPhones next week likely to stimulate sales, disrupting the duopoly enjoyed by Apple and Samsung that has subsisted for five years is a landmark moment.
Since 2010, Apple has been in the market’s top two spots, after it surpassed Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry, before going on to dethrone Nokia.
Apple has vied with Samsung for the largest share of smartphone sales in recent years, although Apple takes nearly all of the profits of the industry.
A telecoms group that was considerably unknown in the West until a few years ago, Huawei, has tried to compete against Samsung and Apple at the high end of the market, but its low-priced handsets have proved popular in South America, the Middle East, and China.
“This is a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence,” Peter Richardson of Counterpoint said.
“While this streak could be temporary considering the annual iPhone refresh is just around the corner, it nevertheless underscores the rate at which Huawei has been growing.”
The breakneck growth of Apple has slowed down in recent years, with iPhone sales declining in 2016 and only rising marginally in 2017.
Nevertheless, shares have traded at all-time highs over the past few days with the market value of the company sitting at around $830bn (£635bn).
Expectations are high ahead of next Tuesday when the company is expected to reveal an improved iPhone with a radically-new design that some analysts expect will kick start growth.
The device is expected to feature a new glass design, a screen that takes up almost all of the handset, and new features including facial recognition and wireless charging.