Huawei passes Samsung as the world’s top smartphone vendor

30 Jul 2020

Image: © Tricky Shark/

A new report from Canalys has named Huawei as the top smartphone vendor in Q2 2020, beating rival Samsung for the first time.

Huawei has faced no shortage of challenges in recent months, including the phased removal and exclusion from the UK’s 5G infrastructure, being classified as a national security threat in the US, and being cut off from key manufacturers.

Yet, on paper, the company appears to be overcoming these obstacles. Earlier in July, Huawei released its financial results for the first half of 2020, revealing a 13.1pc year-on-year increase in revenue.

Now, the company has been named as the world’s top smartphone vendor during the April-to-June period of this year in a report by tech analyst firm Canalys. For the first time ever, it said that Huawei has shipped more smartphones than any other vendor, including Samsung and Apple.

According to the report, Huawei shipped 55.8m devices, down 5pc year-on-year; while second-placed Samsung shipped 53.7m devices, which is a 30pc decrease on Q2 2019. In April, Samsung warned that sales of smartphones were likely to “decline significantly” as Covid-19 took its toll on demand and led to store and plant closures around the world.


The report noted that Huawei’s sales outside of mainland China have been “stifled” by US government restrictions, however within China the company has managed to dominate the domestic market. The company now sells more than 70pc of its smartphones in mainland China.

Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton said: “This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago. If it wasn’t for Covid-19, it wouldn’t have happened. Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business.”

Stanton pointed out that Samsung has a 1pc market share in China, and has suffered as a result of lockdowns in its core markets – Brazil, India, the US and Europe. Canalys analyst Mo Jia added that taking first place is “very important” for Huawei.

“It is desperate to showcase its brand strength to domestic consumers, component suppliers and developers,” he said. “It needs to convince them to invest, and will broadcast the message of its success far and wide in the coming months. But it will be hard for Huawei to maintain its lead in the long term.”

Jia said that Huawei’s strength in China alone “will not be enough” to sustain the business in the top spot once the global economy begins to recover.

In a statement to The Verge, Huawei said: “Our business has demonstrated exceptional resilience in these difficult times. Amidst a period of unprecedented global economic slowdown and challenges, we’ve continued to grow and further our leadership position by providing innovative products and experience to consumers.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic