2018 was an awesome year for Chinese smartphone brands going overseas
But will 2019 be as kind to Huawei and Xiaomi?
It wasn’t that long ago that Chinese smartphone makers rarely ventured outside their home market. And why not? Huawei and Xiaomi managed to become some of the biggest smartphone makers in the world without the reach of Apple or Samsung.
So it comes as no surprise that top Chinese phone makers are branching out beyond home -- and some are seeing extraordinary growth. According to IDC, both Xiaomi and Huawei shipped around a third more smartphones globally compared to 2017. In contrast, Samsung and Apple shipped fewer units than before.
And while Huawei still sold fewer smartphones than Apple globally, it looks like their iPhone contenders are doing increasingly well.
Xiaomi’s story is a little different.
But the big question is whether these companies will sustain their momentum -- or fall victim to the political tension between China and the US. On that front, Huawei is facing the most headwinds. But Xiaomi is also bracing for the worst.
“Winter has come. In 2019, we’re about to face the most serious challenge to date. There is no room for blind optimism,” CEO Lei Jun said during Xiaomi’s annual staff convention last month.
“This winter, everyone is going to have a hard time.”