Chinese leading smartphone maker Huawei has overtaken Apple in global smartphone sales since June to become the world’s second-largest smartphone brand, next only to Samsung, according to the latest report by consulting firm Counterpoint Research.

The August sales haven’t been released yet, though the report points out it’s looking strong for the Chinese vendor. With Apple’s major iPhone launch scheduled in less than one week, however, the US smartphone maker is expected to record a rebound in September.

Image credit: Counterpoint

Still, this is a big deal for Huawei—more commonly known as a network infrastructure manufacturer previousl—to rocket to the top of the industry over the last three to four years. Counterpoint attributes the quick surge to its consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, which brings excellent design and rich feature sets, aggressive marketing, and sales channel expansion.

Huawei enjoys the leadership position in China and operator-centric markets in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, but its presence in South Asian, Indian and North American markets are relatively weak, limiting its potentials to take a sustainable second place position, the report pointed out.

Despite the striking performance in sales, Huawei still lacks a true hero device although it already features a multiple SKU portfolio that ranges from low to high-end products. “While Huawei climbed to be the world’s second largest brand overall, it is surprising to see none of its models breaking into the top ten rankings. While having a diverse portfolio allows Huawei to fight on multiple fronts, it does little to build overall brand recognition; something Huawei badly needs if it is to continue to gain share. While Huawei has trimmed its portfolio, it likely needs to further streamline its product range like Oppo and Xiaomi have done – putting more muscle behind fewer products,” Counterpoint Research senior analyst Pavel Naiya commented.

Image credit: Counterpoint

Huawei’s surge comes with the rise of a raft of Chinese smartphone makers, like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, which have been challenging market incumbents with the latest innovations in bezel-free and full displays, augmented reality, in-house chipsets, and advanced camera features.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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