BEIJING, February 5 (TMTPost)-- latest market research data added new signs that Huawei Technologies Ltd maintained its momentum of staggering comeback since launch of new smartphone flagship months ago.
Huawei ranked first in China in terms of smartphone sales during the initial two weeks of 2024, overtaking arch rivals like Apple, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi, according to Counterpoint Research, a global technology market research firm.This is the first time for Huawei’s to ascend to the top spot since the sanctions imposed by the U.S. government in 2019 have continuously eroded its sales share.
The Huawei Mate 60 series, powered by its in house Kirin 9000S chip, is a key driver of Huawei’s recent success, Counterpoint report said, adding that the strong brand loyalty and the successful launch of the HarmonyOS operating system also fueled the success. The report estimated that China’s high-end smartphone market grew by 27% in 2023. While Apple maintained the leadership in the market with its outstanding performance in the first half of 2023, its market share began to be eroded by Huawei and other Chinese brands from the third quarter of the year. Counterpoint also expects Chinese brands will continue their efforts to capture shares in the high-end market.
Counterpoint report highlighted how robust growth Huawei smartphone delivered since its 5G compatible smartphone unveiled. Huawei surprisingly launched a presale for Mate 60 Pro priced at RMB6,999 (US$960) on August 29 2023 even though it has not officially released the model. The low-profile presale turned out such a success that the first batch of the phone sold out within hours, igniting fervor for Huawei’s 5G comeback in China.
While Huawei didn’t provide details about technical specifications or whether the phone supports the 5G network, Chinese media outlets said online tests proved Mate 60 Pro can deliver the internet speed of 5G. Multiple reports attributed Mate 60’s 5G connectivity to Kirin 9000s chipset, which was deemed as evidence that Huawei managed to defy years of U.S. sanctions. Although the network speed test tool displays 4G LTE network, actual test results surpass the theoretical limit of 150Mbps, reaching over 800Mbps, fully meeting 5G network speed standards.
A week after Mate 60 Pro debut, Huawei initiated pre-orders for new models including the Mate X5 and the Mate 60 Pro Plus. Huawei was said in September to launch a comprehensive program to return to the smartphone market, buoyed by the best-selling Mate 60 series. Huawei has raised shipment target in the second half of 2023 for Mate 60 by 20% as sales of the flagship were stronger than the company’s expectation, according to the state-backed newspaper Securities Daily that month. Huawei was also reported to deliver at least 40 million units of new smartphone in 2023.
The shipment plan of Mate 60 Pro has increased by about 20% to 5.5 million to 6 million units as the demand for the device has been strong since inception, said TF International Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo in September. Kuo forecasted at least a total of 12 million Mate 60 Pro mobiles would be shipped 12 months after launch. Kuo, as one of the most reliable sources of data on Apple products, anticipated that Huawei’s mobile delivery in 2023 will increase about 65% from the previous year to 38 million units, driven by demand for Mate 60 Plus, and its delivery in 2024 is expected to be no less than 60 million.
Apple first became the leading smartphone vendor in Chinese smartphone market with the highest ever market share of 17.3% in 2023, but its shipment in the fourth quarter shipments dropped 2.1% year-over-year (YoY),data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) late January showed. In the fourth quarter, Huawei returned to the top five ranking by shipments after more than two years, according to IDC. Huawei’s shipments surged 36.2% YoY and its market share accordingly strode to the fourth with a share of 13.9%, up 3.6 percentage points from a year ago. Huawei is the only company in the top five that recorded positive YoY growth of shipments in the last quarter.