Chinese tech conglomerate Huawei surpassed Apple to become the second largest smartphone brand worldwide in the second quarter of 2018 as South Korean giant Samsung continued to be the global leader, multiple analysts said on Wednesday.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Huawei delivered shipments of 54.2 million units to move into the second position with a record high market share of 15.8 per cent while Apple came third with 12.1 per cent market share, shipping 41.3 million iPhones in Q2 2018.

Samsung maintained a comfortable lead with 20.9 per cent shipping 71.5 per cent units in the second quarter, despite a 10.4 per cent decline in shipments from last year.

According to Allen Wang, Director, Product Centre, Huawei Consumer Business Group, India, the company has gone from strength to strength to create new benchmarks of innovation, offering an unparalleled experience to our consumers.

“We centred our efforts on product innovation, mobile services, channel transformation, and customer service to continually enhance user experience and reinforce our foundations as a premium global brand,” Wang told IANS after the quarterly results were out.

“Our continued investment in R&D innovation has enabled us to provide competitive products and localised solutions to our consumers globally as well as in India,” Wang added.

Overall, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 342 million units during the second quarter, resulting in a 1.8 per cent decline when compared to the 348.2 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2017.

“The continued growth of Huawei is impressive, to say the least, as is its ability to move into markets where, until recently, the brand was largely unknown,” said Ryan Reith, Programme Vice President with IDC’s “Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers”.

According to Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research’s “Market Monitor” service, Huawei with its sub-brand, Honor, is offering a broad and refreshed portfolio at affordable prices which are driving growth in the overseas market.

“Honor, which is already strong in the e-commerce segment, is now adopting a multi-channel strategy through branded stores in the southeast Asia market. We expect store counts to increase in the future,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.

According to Mo Jia, an analyst with Singapore-based Canalys, “Despite its failure to strike a US carrier partnership earlier this year, Huawei has turned around quickly, moving away from its drive for profitability and focusing instead on finding volume growth at the low end”>

“Honor, which has long been a major brand in China but relatively small overseas, has taken a pivotal role in this strategy,” added Jia.

The arrival of Huawei in the second position marks the first quarter since the second quarter of 2010 where Apple has not been the number one or two smartphone company in terms of market share, said IDC.

Xiaomi was fourth, capturing 9.3 per cent market share with shipments of 31.9 million smartphones globally.

OPPO and Vivo were the fifth and sixth largest brands during the quarter, capturing 8.6 per cent and 7 per cent market share, respectively.

Top 10 players now capture 79 per cent of the global market, thereby leaving over 600 brands to compete for the remaining 21 per cent of the market.

According to IDC, Samsung will look to bolster sales in the coming weeks.

“We await the arrival of the new Galaxy Note 9. The new Note will be unveiled on August 9 and is expected to launch earlier than the Note 8 to gain a foothold ahead of pending fall launches from Apple and others,” said IDC.