For a short time this year, Huawei beat Samsung to become the largest smartphone maker in the world

Huawei Logo
Huawei Logo (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Huawei finally realized its dream of becoming the largest smartphone maker in the world this April.
  • The company achieved its long-time ambition by trouncing Samsung's 17% market share by winning up to 19% of the sales during the period.
  • The company's victory will likely be short-lived, however, as it continues losing ground in international markets due to the U.S. ban.

Considered a pipe dream of days past by analysts just weeks ago, Huawei has finally realized its long-awaited ambition of becoming the largest smartphone maker in the world — albeit only in passing. As GizmoChina notes, market analysis firm Counterpoint Research reports the Chinese giant edging ever so slightly past the South Korean chaebol in April this year with 19% of the market share for that month, slightly ahead of Samsung's 17%.

What's behind this seemingly miraculous turn of fortunes for Huawei, you ask? The ongoing pandemic, as luck would have it. As China's returns to business as usual after successfully getting a handle on the coronavirus bolstered Huawei's sales in the country, its South Korean rival saw its market share for the month drop from 21% at the end of Q1 2020 to just 17% in April, owing largely to lockdowns in the U.S., India, and Latin America, some of its most important markets. Samsung has also had to shutter some of its factories in India, resulting in a further slump in sales.

And though Huawei may be basking in this momentary triumph, its legal troubles are far from over. Having already lost access to Google Mobile Services — a massive blow to the company's prospects in international markets, where it has steadily lost ground in recent months — the latest measures by the U.S. government have also begun costing the company its access to the global chip supply.

While it's unlikely that Huawei will be able to maintain its sales lead in upcoming months, the company is certainly not out of the game yet. And with China mulling over retaliatory measures against U.S. firms in response, this saga is far from over.

Muhammad Jarir Kanji