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Huawei trying to beat Apple's iPhone shipments to become second-biggest smartphone company

Apple may lose its second-place spot behind Samsung in the global smartphone market in the future, after Chinese mobile device producer Huawei declared it will attempt to ship 200 million smartphones before the end of 2018.

As of July 18, Huawei has shipped 100 million smartphones, mobile arm chief Richard Yu Chengdong told the South China Morning Post. It is claimed this is the fastest the company has passed the milestone shipments number for a year, with previous instances occurring on December 22 in 2015, October 14 in 2016, and September 12 in 2017.

"As it's only taken just over six months to reach the target this year, we are now aiming for shipments of 200 million units by the end of 2018," claims Yu.

It is noted that the shipment figure is not for one individual smartphone brand, but in fact two. Shipments for both Huawei and Honor, Huawei's budget brand, are used in the calculation. The continuing increase in shipments for Huawei means it is gaining ground on Apple, and if sustained, could outpace the iPhone producer.

According to an IDC report in May, Apple shipped 52.2 million iPhones in the March quarter of 2018, an increase of 3 percent year-on-year, while Samsung shipped 78.2 million units. In the same quarter, Huawei reportedly increased its shipments to 39.3 million units, a 13.8-percent year-on-year increase.

IHS Markit analyst Zaker Li suggests the Huawei and Honor brands are gaining ground in Southeast Asian markets, including India, a region Apple is working hard to capture. Huawei has apparently seen success with both its brands in the country in the second quarter.

Since the second-half of the year is typically when most smartphones are sold, Li believes "It will not be difficult for Huawei to exceed 200 million units of phone shipments, if it has already completed half of that now."

For the full year 2017, IDC data claims Huawei shipped 153.1 million smartphones, while Apple shipped 215.8 million iPhones. Leader Samsung achieved 317.3 million phone shipments across the year. Shipment volumes are in no way an indicator of profit, with Apple continuing to seize the lion's share for many years.