Huawei overtakes Samsung as number-one smartphone seller

China’s Huawei has overtaken Samsung to become the number-one smartphone seller worldwide in the second quarter, industry tracker Canalys said Thursday. 

Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices in the April-June period, trumping Samsung’s 53.7 million, according to data from research firm Canalys.

Huawei now sells nearly two-thirds of its handsets in China, which took an early hit from the coronavirus pandemic but has since reclaimed ground as new cases have dwindled. Smartphone makers dominant in other countries are still struggling as new virus cases continue to rise.

Huawei’s sales fell 5% from the same quarter a year earlier, while South Korea’s Samsung posted a 30% drop due to weak demand in key markets including Brazil, the United States and Europe.

“Our business has demonstrated exceptional resilience in these difficult times,” a Huawei spokesman said.

Domestic sales rose 8%, but Huawei’s overseas shipments fell 27% in the quarter.

The company’s stint as top seller may prove short-lived once other markets recover, a senior Huawei employee with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Samsung said on Thursday it expects smartphone demand to pick up in the second half of the year.

The United States has effectively blocked Huawei from using Google’s services, damaging the attractiveness of the Chinese company’s phones abroad, and limited its access to chips crucial for 5G networking.

It remains unclear how much of Huawei’s second-quarter sales were driven by its 5G smartphones and high-end models that are most vulnerable to the restrictions, said Nicole Peng, vice president of Mobility at Canalys.

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