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No. 2 worldwide Chinese company overtakes iPhone

September 5, 2018 GMT

Chinese technology company Huawei overtook Apple in the second quarter of this year to become the No. 2 worldwide smartphone seller for the first time, according to new data from Stamford-based IT consulting and research firm Gartner.

“Honor” smartphones, which are shipping into 70 markets worldwide, are a major driver of Huawei’s growth, Gartner officials said. Huawei’s smartphone sales increased by about 39 percent during the past quarter, to nearly 50 million, compared with about 45 million for Apple.

“Huawei continues to bring innovative features into its smartphones and expand its smartphone portfolio to cover larger consumer segments,” Gartner research director Anshul Gupta said in a statement.

Samsung maintained its status as the top global smartphone seller, with a total of about 72 million in the past quarter. But its sales declined about 13 percent.

“Samsung faces slowing global smartphone demand and ever-growing competition from Chinese manufacturers,” Gupta said. “The slowing demand for its flagship smartphones left Samsung with lower profitability. It now expects the Note 9 smartphone to revive growth.”

Apple’s sales were flat in the past quarter.

“Minimal incremental value in Apple’s current-generation flagship iPhones led to slower growth in the second quarter of 2018,” Gupta said. “Demand for the iPhone X has started to slow down much earlier than when other new models were introduced.”

An Apple “special event” is scheduled for Sept. 12, at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where it could unveil new iPhone models.

Another Chinese technology powerhouse, Xiaomi, finished No. 4, with nearly 33 million smartphones sold in the past quarter.

“Growing competition from Chinese brands and consumers’ greater expectations for phone value is putting immense pressure on Apple to deliver enhanced value on their premium iPhones to foster growth,” Gupta said.

Overall, smartphone sales grew 2 percent in the second quarter, to about 374 million units.

In the smartphone operating-system market, Google’s Android further increased its lead over Apple’s iOS in the second quarter, as it carved out an 88 percent market share compared with about 12 percent for iOS.

pschott@scni.; 203-964-2236; Twitter: @paulschott