Huawei Fights Back as Global Smart Phone Market Grows Again
COVID-19 and China
Huawei logo. Image Credits: Huawei official website.

According to research firm Canalys there was a 1% increase in global shipments in Q3 2019. Samsung, as expected, topped the list, with 78.9 million devices shipped, which is an increase of 11%. After having the worst year since its founding and a very weak Q2, Huawei showed a 29% increase, with a total shipment of 66.8 million units, ranking second on the list. Apple, on the other hand, saw a decline of 7%, shipping 43.5 million units. Xiaomi and Oppo took fourth (32.5 million units shipped) and fifth (32 million units shipped) place, respectively. 

As far as China is concerned, the shipments increased by only 0.2 million, from 97.6 million units in the second quarter to 97.8 million in the third. Huawei’s market share increased to 42% with a staggering annual growth of 66%. Amid the US blacklisting and a gloomy smartphone market, Huawei outran its competitors by shipping 41.5 million units. As for the remaining top five vendors: Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Apple’s combined market share declined from 54% in Q2 to 50% in Q3. 

Huawei opened a huge gap between itself and other vendors. It has 25% more share than this quarter’s runner-up, Vivo,” said Nicole Peng, one of Canalys’ VPs. “Its dominant position gives Huawei a lot of power to negotiate with the supply chain and to increase its wallet share within channel partners.”

The data above shows that, despite going through a tough time, the world’s second-largest mobile phone vendor has done well at home. According to QuestMobile, half of China’s iPhone users that switched devices in the first half of 2019 chose Android handsets. Of those almost half chose a Huawei smartphone.

In response to the ban, Huawei has taken quite a few bold steps. The firm released its self-developed Harmony OS (鸿蒙) at its annual developer conference on August 9, with an eye on the US Android ban and the internet of things. A few days later, Song Zhang, Huawei’s vice president of research strategy and partnership in Canada, said: “5G is already pretty new, and 6G is part of the so-called 5G evolution.” Huawei expects that its Ottawa R&D lab will help lead global 6G development. Huawei also claimed to have secured more than 50 contracts worldwide.

This week, the Sunday Times reported that the UK is preparing to allow Huawei to be involved in the development of next-generation communications.

Although we believe that Huawei does rely heavily on US technologies, Huawei’s flagship phone shows that 1% of the products used to make the chip come from the US, which adds up to 16% of the total cost. In terms of the cost, 62% of components are made outside of China.

We can say that most of the parts found on the motherboard of Huawei’s Mate X 20 5G are made by the company’s in-house chipmaker, HiSilicon, and other Asian manufacturers. There are, however, a few key components that enabling the phone’s 5G connectivity that are made by US companies, according to iFixit, a computer repair company based in the US.

According to Southwest Securities, it will be hard for Huawei to replace the two companies since the RF front-end chip-making market share is hugely dominated by US companies.

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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