Huawei displaces Apple as world's No2 smartphone brand

Chinese smartphone companies continue their onward march not just in India but worldwide with Huawei displacing Apple as number two in global smartphone sales after Samsung for June and July and August sales looking equally strong for the Chinese vendor, according to research firm Counterpoint.

While Samsung retained the top spot, Apple slipped to the third place despite its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus being the best-selling smartphones in July, according to Counterpoint's Market Pulse for July 2017.

The report said that Chinese brands like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have managed to gain access to key supply chain partners, allowing them to launch new bezel-less devices with more enhanced features to effectively challenge rivals.

"These players have become equally important as Samsung or Apple to the global supply chain, application developers and distribution channels, as they continue to grow in scale more rapidly than the incumbent market share leaders," Tarun Pathak, Counterpoint's associate director, said in a statement.

Although Huawei has become the world's second largest smartphone company, none of its handsets could make it to the list of the top 10 best-selling devices. Apple's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were followed by Oppo R11, Oppo A57, Samsung Galaxy S8, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X, Samsung Galaxy S8+, Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime and Galaxy A5 2017.

According to the report, the reason why none of Huawei smartphones were among the best-selling handsets is the company's multiple SKU portfolio that still needs a "true hero device" to drive sales.

"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," Pavel Naiya, a senior analyst at Counterpoint, said in the statement. "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."

The report also suggested that Huawei's lead over Apple could be temporary as the latter is set to launch the much-awaited 10th anniversary iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 8 or iPhone X, on 12 September. In addition, Huawei's weak presence in the South Asian, Indian and North American markets also limits its potential to maintain a sustainable second position behind Samsung in quarters to come.

During the announcement of its fiscal third quarter of this year, Apple said that it sold 41 million iPhones during the period. The company also said that it expected to post $49 billion to $52 billion in fiscal fourth-quarter revenue, suggesting that it was confident in a big iPhone launch this month.