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Huawei Rises to Challenge Apple and Samsung in Smartphones

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Apple and Samsung have been comfortably perched at the top of the smartphone vendor rankings for a while, but there’s a challenger that gaining fast.

According to the latest edition of International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Huawei closed out 2015 in third place behind Apple and Samsung. “Usually the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei’s strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand,” said IDC senior research manager Melissa Chau in a statement.

During the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015, Huawei shipped 32.4 million smartphones. For the entire year, that figured crossed the 100-million-unit mark (106.6 million), placing the Android in some lofty company. “Huawei also became the fourth mobile phone vendor in history to ship over 100 million smartphones in a year (preceded only by Nokia, Samsung and Apple),” observed Gartner.

In total, Huawei ended up with 7.4 percent of the worldwide smartphone market in 2015, despite challenging economic conditions back home.

“While there is a lot of uncertainty around the economic slowdown in China, Huawei is one of the few brands from China that has successfully diversified worldwide, with almost half of its shipments going outside of China. Huawei is poised to be in a good position to hold onto a strong number 3 over the next year,” Chau said.

Samsung ended 2015 with shipments of 85.6 million smartphones in Q4 and a total of 324.8 million units and a 22.7 percent share of the market for the full year, earning it the top spot. Buoyed by strong demand for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple finished the year in second place with shipments of 74.8 million phones in Q4 and a total of 231.5 million phones for all of 2015.

“A new record-setting quarter for Apple indicates consumers continued demand for Apple’s latest offerings regarding upgraded hardware and software,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager, IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Features such as a more widely accepted Apple Pay, increased performance, and the innovative Force Touch technology, continue to set the iPhone apart from the competition.”

Rounding up the top five smartphone vendors for 2015 are two other Chinese brands, Lenovo with shipments of 74.0 million units and Xiaomi with 70.8 million units.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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