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



View All Comments

  • Oxford Guy - Friday, December 28, 2018 - link

    "The Chinese Government hasn't encroached on my right to privacy... Yet."


    When MLK said "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" he wasn't speaking hyperbolically. His statement becomes more and more tangible as technology increases the embeddedness of globalization.

    If you are of any importance, even marginal, you should assume you have a dossier on a Chinese server. You have one on a number of US ones. Data storage is cheap when the plebs pay for it. The Utah facility uses 1.6 billion gallons of water but is, or will be, exempted from paying tax on energy and water.
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, December 28, 2018 - link

    Sorry, typo:

    "One of Utah's largest energy users might not have to pay a utility tax. Utah lawmakers are considering exempting the National Security Agency's Utah Data Center from the tax that would bring $6 million a year to the state.

    The $1.5 billion data center, which opened last fall, is estimated to consume $40 million in electricity annually and could require as much as 1.7 million gallons of water per day to cool its supercomputers."

    I assume that the measure passed and that it uses more water and energy today than in 2014.
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, December 28, 2018 - link

    "I'd trust the US government 10 times over the Chinese government. You have to pick a side. Choose wisely."

    Illogical. See my comment above.

    The only side anyone who is rational should pick is the side where individuals have their constitutional rights. That is what protects IP. IP isn't just something rich people are supposed to be able to have.
  • Narg - Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - link

    I'll side with the USA government on this company. I will never buy a Hauwei product, if I can help it. I also have personal reasons beyond the loyalty to my home country. Hauwei drove the removal of the headphone jack leading this movement. Add to that they possibility of Chinese government influence on their products, just doesn't sit well with me. I trust my USA government far more than I trust the Chinese government. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, December 28, 2018 - link

    "I trust my USA government far more than I trust the Chinese government."

    To do what? Such blanket statements as that are blindness embodied.
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - link

    I think the main concern I have with Huawei is with how laughably blatant they try to mimic iOS and iPhone designs in general and how the government protects them from doing this. What's that, Apple? You mad bro? How about we shut down your Foxconn factory?

    Semi-joking aside, Huawei is one hell of a juggernaut.
  • vicbee - Thursday, December 27, 2018 - link

    I think the US should put up or shut up about Huawei. Either US intelligence has proof of hardware or software security issues with Huawei equipment and should detail what they've found for all to analyze or the US should be shamed and sued by Huawei for affecting its business. Latest news has the Anglo countries (US, UK, CA, AUS and NZ) banding together against Huawei citing cataclysmic intelligence reports with no facts. Last time that alliance was called to band together was when Bush Jr. insisted Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Reply
  • jabber - Monday, December 31, 2018 - link

    Indeed. Any article you read of 'Huawei Spying' just gives very vague info and doesn't categorically state any particular proof of chips/firmware etc. etc.

    If it was that bad, they wouldn't be available. As others have said Western Govts don't like the competition and more likely Huawei phones are harder to break into for the CIA/MI6 etc.

    It's got so bad that some tech journos are now flat out asking Govts to state their sources/facts or just f*** off.
  • jabber - Monday, December 31, 2018 - link

    I wouldn't trust either of them as far as I could throw them. Reply
  • Beyonslay - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    Huawei has managed to find a place in the market for the simple reason that these products are of very good quality and low price.


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