Huawei has almost no market share in the United States because of government accusations that it is tied to the Chinese government. Security worries led to the end of a sales agreement between Huawei and AT&T earlier this year, which would have been a crucial move for Huawei’s efforts to break into the American market.
Yet despite being shut out of one of the world’s most lucrative smartphone markets, it has had exceptional success globally, particularly in its home market of China. The company has sold a high volume of lower-priced handsets there, as well as a line of premium devices with innovative features.
“The Asia-Pacific region posted the biggest growth in the second quarter, rising 107 percent year over year, while Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) recorded more than 60 percent growth,” IHS Markit analyst Gerrit Schneemann said of Huawei in a research note.
The reports came just hours after Apple reported it had sold 41.3 million iPhones over the past quarter. Despite shipping fewer units than analysts had expected, Apple reported that iPhone revenue was up 20 percent from the same period last year.
Apple is expected to increase the number of phones it ships significantly in the coming quarter, with the launch of new phones headed into the winter holiday season.
Still, analysts said that Huawei’s accomplishment was more than a blip. “The importance of Huawei overtaking Apple this quarter cannot be overstated,” Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton said in a release. “It is the first time in seven years that Samsung and Apple have not held the top two positions.” Apple should take the change as a warning, he said, as it still needs to sell phones to drive its growing services business.
Apple, Samsung and Huawei didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.