Huawei has announced today that shipments of its smartphones in 2018 have exceeded 200 million units. In recent months the company became the No. 2 supplier of smartphones, ahead of Apple and behind Samsung, marking a remarkable progress Huawei has made since it entered this market eight years ago.

Huawei launched its first mobile phone in 2003, primarily targeting developing economies as companies like Nokia and Motorola dominated established markets back then. According to Huawei, it was successful enough to sell its consumer business unit for some $10 billion to Motorola, yet never did. The company did not see many opportunities on the smartphone market till 2009, when it introduced its first smartphone (the U8220) which also targeted the low-end of the market. The company changed its approach to smartphone design and consumer business in general with the subsequent generations, introducing rather successful devices and then its EMUI for Android in 2012. Somewhere along the line the company partnered with Leica for smartphone cameras to become known known for its smartphones imaging capabilities.

To tell the long story short, sales of Huawei smartphones increased 66 times from 2010, a compound annual growth rate of 69% (or 39% if you exclude the low base of 2010). Back in Q3 alone, according to IDC, Huawei sold 52 million smartphones, that is below 72 million sold by Samsung and above 47 million sold by Apple.

Because of the trade dispute between China and the US, Huawei smartphones have issues in the US, obviously capping the company’s sales and restricting the markets. Nevertheless, having sold 200 million units this year, the company is sitting comfortably at the No. 2 position with only Samsung ahead of it.

Huawei's Smartphones in 2018

The 200 million unit value includes all Huawei branded and Honor branded smartphones, although the two companies are managed under different umbrellas internally. Honor states that it would be #5 worldwide by itself, to give some perspective. Throughout 2018, both companies have launched a number of compelling smartphones to whet the appetite.

In October we saw the launch of the Mate 20, the Mate 20 Pro, the Mate 20 X, and the Mate 20 RS, with the first two of those being the key drivers for Huawei's flagship line. These two devices use the latest 7nm Kirin 980 chipset, with a large focus on AI compute performance.

You can read our Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro review here, along with our Kirin 980 deep-dive analysis.

The Mate 20 Lite, using the Kirin 710, also debuted in Q3.

Earlier in the year, Huawei launched the P20 and the P20 Pro. This more mid-range device, during the height of the 'Notch' drama, focused on its Kirin 970 internals as well as a 960 FPS camera mode. The key highlights in our review were the battery life, showing the detail to optimization, and the night vision mode, which at the time was a step above the competition.

You can read our Huawei P20 and P20 Pro review here.

Honor on the other hand launched at least seven smartphones in 2018: The Honor 9 Lite, the Honor Red 7X, the Honor 10, the Honor 7S, the Honor Play, the Honor 8X, and the Honor Magic 2.

Left to Right: Honor 10 ($$$$), Honor Play ($$$), and Honor 8X ($)

Related Reading

Source: Huawei

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  • sonny73n - Thursday, December 27, 2018 - link

    What’s so spam about my comment that AT didn’t let me post?
  • sonny73n - Thursday, December 27, 2018 - link


    Why think without research? Are you not capable of making sound judgments?

    It’s very easy to figure out really. When a gangster can no longer compete fairly, he resorts to extortion and kidnapping.
    By the way, don’t any of you so called techies tell me about security. I’ve been in IT field since 2001. Government can easily spy and hack any phone, computer or smart device, especially our government who has unlimited resource to do so. There’s many cases from Apple. Google it! Well, don’t leave out Google, Microsoft and Samsung.

    It doesn’t matter who makes the phone. I’ll buy what I think has the best value for my hard earned money. Capisce!
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, December 28, 2018 - link

    The notion that Americans, for example, have nothing to fear from Chinese spying is absurd.

    A lot of Americans depend on ties to the Chinese economy. Their children may even want to do things like deal with Chinese companies. Being blackballed with a foreigner's Sesame Score is bad news.

    Censorship is something that spreads in a globalized world. It doesn't just stay nicely contained. It's like the air, water, and soil pollution of China that spreads, including via contaminated food.

    Pot-kettle is called the tu quoque fallacy for a reason. It evades the issue (actor A's behavior) by changing the subject (actor B's behavior).
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, December 28, 2018 - link

    There is also the issue of IP theft. Spycraft from all directions is a threat to individuals' ability to rise socially.

    If rich people can steal the innovations of the plebs to enrich themselves then they don't merely have to have a renter's economy that doles out regurgitations of their old IP, protected forever by Sonny Bono's rictus.
  • Hul8 - Saturday, December 29, 2018 - link

    Pot-kettle applies here, because every government that has the means to do so will spy on everyone. This means a consumer's attempts to avoid that thru device or software selection are ineffective.

    Warnings about Chinese manufacturers are meant to boost (the relative) confidence and spending in U.S. products, and to make it easier for NSA to get access.
  • poohbear - Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - link

    Americans are afraid of competition? With the exception of Apple & Google phones, all the other smartphone companies are NOT American. Samsung, LG, Oneplus, Sony, Asus, Huawei, so how are they scared of competition?
  • Murloc - Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - link

    people buying phones changes nothing because huawei does price dumping in network infrastructure and your apple device may be spied on just as much as an huawei device if the infrastructure is all huawei.
  • Narg - Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - link

    Who did those companies spy for? I'd trust the US government 10 times over the Chinese government. You have to pick a side. Choose wisely.
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - link

    I think I would trust the Chinese government more than the US Government.
    The Chinese Government hasn't encroached on my right to privacy... Yet.
  • sseemaku - Thursday, December 27, 2018 - link

    I thought people in China have to install a government sponsored firewall and the browsing is closely monitored.

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