Huawei May Overtake Apple In Smartphone Market Share In 2017, Says IDC Analyst

Apple may have gone all out in introducing its newest iPhone 8 and iPhone X (10) models to the world, but Apple's position as the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world is being threatened.

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Apple may have gone all out in introducing its newest iPhone 8 and iPhone X (10) models to the world, but Apple's position as the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world is being threatened with the global iconic smartphone maker Huawei nipping at its heels. IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo believes that Huawei could overtake Apple in global smartphone market share, as early as 2017. "Huawei is today the biggest challenger to Apple and Samsung…They will probably overtake Apple in the smartphone business, either this year or next year," Francisco Jeronimo, research director for European mobile devices, IDC, told CNBC in an interview earlier this month.

According to IDC data, in Q2 2017, Huawei held a 11.3% market share shipping 38.5 million units, while Apple shipped 41 million iPhones and had a 12% market share. Not just that, research firm Canalys, in a recent note, has said that Huawei is closing the gap with the leading duo –Samsung and Apple- and is now "within three million units of taking the second place from Apple." So what's causing the global ascent of the Chinese telecommunication giant that only recently launched its consumer-facing business division?

While analysts cite a combination of factors to Huawei posing a threat to the top global smartphone makers, the company's aggressive investment in smartphone research and technology figures as a key factor. According to a statement by Huawei, "every year, the company dedicates 10% of its annual revenue to R&D, amounting to over US$45 billion. In addition, Huawei operates 15 R&D centers and 36 joint innovations centers across the world and, as a result, the company has been ranked as number 9 in the Top 10 companies in the world for R&D investment in 2016." On top of this, Huawei is also a firm believer that collective strength (rather than individual action) does better to drive innovation. "It is this unwavering belief in the combination of both individual authority and in the power of collective networks that drives the spirit of innovation across the company," Huawei says. "This collective wisdom is very much a top down approach, as Huawei rotates its CEOs every six months to stay fresh."

Huawei Honor 9 Blue. Image credit: Huawei.
According to IDC's Jeronimo, Huawei's push in AI, with the recent launch of its new chipset the Kirin 970, is also giving the company an edge to face the future. At the same time, heralding a new decade of smartphone development, Huawei recently launched its highly acclaimed Mate 10 series. The devices are set to deliver the ultimate intelligent experience for users, by providing more comprehensive mobile intelligence through AI. The Huawei Mate 10 Series goes beyond smart, making the smartphone so intelligent with personalized AI applications that it completely changes smart applications, and delivers a faster, stronger and seamless smartphone experience to users. Huawei's steadfast efforts to reach the top have not gone unnoticed. Industry analysts speak of the company's tendency to be urgent and ambitious in launching products that suit the dynamic market as its biggest strength.

For instance, in the 10th edition of Fast Company's World's 50 Most Innovative Companies ranking in 2017 (which places impact as a key criteria), Huawei ranks 15th for "iterating fast." Fast Company's citation for Huawei draws attention to what Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group (who's set to deliver a keynote address at CES 2018), is reported to have said in November 2016 at a launch event in Munich: "When we announced four years ago that we wanted to sell phones, people told us we were crazy. When we said we wanted to sell 100 million phones, they told us we were crazy… We are going to take [Apple] step-by-step, innovation-byinnovation." This strategy of the Chinese behemoth, to go beyond undercutting its rivals just by price and also match -and improve- features offered by rivals, is helping Huawei navigate the market. Innovation in action, indeed.

Related: Style And Substance: Huawei Honor 9

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