A new study has revealed that Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has managed to gain ground on Samsung and Apple in terms of market share. But the US giant in particular is still in a different league.
Chinese smartphone producer Huawei made big strides last year to narrow the gap between itself and its main rivals Samsung and Apple, the Gartner consultancy group reported Wednesday.
In 2016, Huawei saw its sales leap by 26.7 percent, while the South Korean and US competitors both saw their sales decline by 4.3 percent, the study pointed out.
As a result, Huawei was able to increase its share of the smartphone market to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, while Samsung's market share shrank two percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple's dipped to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent in 2015.
"Chinese smartphone makers succeeded in winning market share and Huawei now seems to be the main rival to the two giants [Samsung and Apple], even if the gap remains large," Gartner analyst Annette Zimmermann told the AFP news agency.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, the launch of the iPhone 7 enabled Apple to take the top slot in the market with a share of 17.9 percent or 77 million units sold worldwide. Samsung sold 76.8 million smartphones in the same period.
Apple's continued success in the smartphone segment has come as a big surprise to many analysts, who just a year ago believed that the US giant might not have a bright future.
But it's regained the top position as the world's most valuable company ahead of Google, with its share price going from strength to strength. With a new iPhone model expected to hit the shops later this year, investors are already pumping more money into the stock, with Apple shares now worth well over $130 apiece and no end in sight to the record surge. Apple is now worth about $700 billion (658 billion euros).
hg/sri (AFP, dpa)