Huawei has sights set on being largest smartphone company by 2021

4 min read

For many years the smart phone market was almost exclusively a battle between Apple and Samsung as the clear leaders with everyone else fighting for a third spot. However that hasn’t stopped some ambitious companies from trying, with China’s low cost Xiaomi the likeliest contender for a while. However Huawei has had stellar growth over the last two years with a range of fantastic phones and has since overtaken them as not only China’s largest smartphone maker, but now also the third largest in the world.

However Huawei doesn’t want to stop there. According to a recent interview in Fortune magazine with consumer head Richard Yu, the smartphone manufacturer has its sight set on not just usurping the number two spot from Apple, but also dethroning Samsung to become the largest smartphone company in the world.

We want to grow into top two market share, and, in the future, top one by 2021

According to recent figures Huawei is now the top-selling smartphone brand in Portugal and the Netherlands and is second in Italy, Poland, Hungary and Spain with it selling sometimes up to 10 times as many devices in those countries as Apple. In order for Huawei to usurp the two giants though, its going to have to hit it big in the English speaking market and the US in particular.

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One major obstacle to this is purely distribution and marketing with the manufacturer not having agreements with the big four network carriers in the US: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Huawei is sold mostly through retailers like Best Buy or Walmart or directly from their website, which the company believes is hurting their sales and is something they wish to remedy:

The past five years we were not taking the right strategy.  We didn’t have the right people.

To combat this, Huawei recently hired Michelle Xiong, a former Verizon wireless executive with experience negotiating with device makers, to help sell Huawei’s smartphones. But the manufacturer cautions that any carrier agreement is at least a year away, pushing any meaningful growth into these channels in the US to a few years down the road.

With Huawei shipping 33.6 million smartphones in the third quarter of last year compared to Apple’s 45.5 million, they definitely still have their work cut out for them. But if they can get their market strategy right, Huawei  has what it takes to challenge the big brands. Given Samsung’s recent quality issues over their batteries, and Apple’s lackluster innovation over the past few years, now is a good time to strike. With each series of phones they release getting markedly better, I believe Huawei can.

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Competition is always good. Apple and Samsung need to up their game if they want to stay in the lead in this contest.

Last Updated: January 26, 2017

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I’d rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

  • MonsterCheddar

    Will probably be my next phone. Tired of Apple now.

  • And Huawei will do it too.
    Amazing phones. Have 2.
    1 for work. 1 for personal. Love them.

    • Admiral Chief

      Look at mr fancypants hipster!

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    Aiming at either a Huawei or Samsung as next phone.

    Very good, decent phones with proper pricing.

    • Don’t touch Samsung. Bloated and the UI is just getting worse. Every new iteration makes the menus less and less intuitive.

      • Hammersteyn

        I prefer Sony atm

        • Admiral Chief


          • Hammersteyn

            What are you using?

          • Admiral Chief


          • Hammersteyn

            Not bad, I was in the mood for something other than Samsung. I get to upgrade this year so we’ll see

          • Admiral Chief

            I quite like the UI, clean, crisp, no silly extra apps etc that you cannot nuke

          • Hammersteyn

            True. You buy a phone these days with x amount of memory only to realize that half of that is already being used by system apps and MTN or Vodocams crappy apps

        • Sony isn’t a bad choice either

        • Fox1 – Retro

          Sony have the best battery life and a great camera. I have a Sony and a Xiaomi. The Xiaomi is just better optimised and software updates are delivered regularly OTA.

      • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

        I bought the bae the Samsung Galaxy Prime Prime Plus last year and have to admit the phone is awesome.

        Working great and honestly no complaints.

        • Admiral Chief

          You bought the bae?

          • Quick! Call Trev!

          • Admiral Chief


          • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

            Like a BOSS!!!

        • I just find the UI too clunky. The phone can perform great but if the UI is bad…. I can’t hey

        • Fox1 – Retro

          You can get a far better Xiaomi for the same price as a Samsung Prime Plus Plus Mini.

          • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

            Didn’t get the the Mini 😉

  • Hammersteyn

    Hopefully they wont emulate Samsung’s explosive year

    • MonsterCheddar

      I see what you did there.

    • miaau

      You sure you did not mean to type immolate? Instead of emulate? You sure, sure?

      • Hammersteyn

        LOL, not anymore

  • Admiral Chief

    WAH-WEI aiming for a good target

  • miaau

    judging by the build quality, look and feel, of my wife’s P9 Lite, the extras it came with AND the low price point, when compared to anything with similar hardware. Hmm.

    They might just do it.

    • Dresden

      Thinking of getting one. The only thing keeping me with Samsung is their screen quality and build.
      Those Super AMOLED screens are top notch in my opinion.

      • miaau

        My Galaxy J7 cost nearly a grand more than the p9 lite AND has lower res, coming in at 720p, while the P9 Lite is 1080p. Visually, looks awesome too. It really does.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      My colleague just got a P9 Lite, it’s a damn nice phone.

  • I got the P9 lite, really good phone, better than some of the other crap that I had, yes you Apple

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