Huawei occupy an interesting place in the mobile and networking world. Their business centres around a blend of mobile devices (including modems for plugging into computers, smartphones and tablets) plus mobile networking technology (in other words, the clever bits that go into the cell masts we see dotted around the countryside). The company has been linked with all sorts of spying allegations and trust issues, which it has strictly denied. In the Android sphere, Huawei have faced a large and price-aggressive competitor in their home Chinese turf in the shape of Xiaomi. Xiaomi’s business is making products as good if not better than the next guy, and as cheap if not cheaper. Facing such difficult conditions at home, Huawei pursued a strategy of selling into overseas markets, backed up by a patent portfolio that provides them with protection from competitors trying to remove their devices from sale. It’s a clever business strategy that has worked reasonably well for Huawei: many cell ‘phone stores around the world stock Huawei products and many carriers have used Huawei modems and networking products.
The source website has put together a table showing the market share growth of mobile device manufacturers from around the world, although there are two important caveats in that it excludes LG and Xiaomi because these reported statistics are volatile. A difficulty here is that it is possible the recent uptick in Huawei’s market share growth could be volatility (we will know more this time next year). The second is that statistics can be manipulated to show what we want them to, especially when we consider just one point of reference. In terms of overall sales numbers, Apple and Samsung remain the two largest manufacturers taking most sales, leaving the scraps to be fought over by the competition. The way that the data has been presented certainly shows that Huawei are taking market share from the competition, but without a reference to sales numbers it is difficult to quantify. After all, if Huawei sold, 20,000 units in early 2013 but sold 40,000 units in early 2014, but the overall market sold 25 million units in 2013 and let’s support 30 million units in 2014, the data would show 100% sales growth year on year and an almost as impressive 66% market share growth year on year… because market share is moving from 0.08% to 0.13%. What we do know is that Huawei’s market share is somewhere around the 6.6% for 2015, compared with 6.5% for Xiaomi, 16.4% for Apple and 26.6% for Samsung. Yes; Huawei have moved from under 5% in 2013, but they are still around 1% below that of Lenovo and Motorola and have a long way to go before snatching Samsung’s crown.
However, things are looking good the Huawei. The company builds competent smartphones and some of its own components, including the System-on-Chips that power these devices. It has been linked with building the next Nexus smartphone and some of its recent devices are beautifully made, metal models that will allow it to compete fair and square with the best of the rest.