China’s leading smartphone brand, Huawei Technologies, outstripped Apple in global smartphone shipments in the second quarter this year, putting it in second place behind Samsung Electronics and signalling the rising popularity of its handsets around the world. Huawei became the world’s number two smartphone vendor, a long sought-after milestone for the company, after it shipped 54 million handsets, up 41 per cent year on year, Canalys said in a report on Wednesday. Samsung remained the top vendor in the three-month period but felt the impact of Huawei and others by posting an 8 per cent decline to 73 million shipments, while Apple fell to third, shipping 41 million iPhones with tepid year-on-year growth of one per cent. Huawei’s success follows its stated ambition to ship 200 million handsets to both domestic and global markets in 2018 after shipping 100 million phones as of July 18, the fastest pace of shipments the Chinese company has seen in years. Huawei’s glittering second quarter performance is partly due to strong sales of its latest flagship model, the P20 series – which has outshone its P10 and P9 predecessors – and a stellar performance from its budget brand Honor. The mid-priced phone maker accounted for two thirds of the near 16 million jump in handset shipments by Huawei in the second quarter, helping the Chinese phone maker to beat Apple in overall sales, according to Canalys. Huawei’s revenue growth levels off despite smartphone surge The second quarter is traditionally weak for Apple on a seasonal basis, said UK-based Canalys analyst Ben Stanton, estimating that the Cupertino, California-based technology giant shipped over 8 million iPhone Xs in the period, down from 14 million in the previous quarter. “While the iPhone X succeeded in generating volume in the previous quarters despite its hefty price tag, it has been unable to sustain that volume this quarter. But for an Apple flagship, this is normal. In addition to this, models such as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are also losing steam,” said Stanton, adding that an uptick in iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, helped in part by the Product Red campaign, was enough to offset this trend. Apple sold 41.3 million iPhones in its third quarter, generating revenue of US$29.9 billion driven by a higher average selling price of US$724, thanks in part to the iPhone X, which starts at US$999, the US technology giant announced in its results statement on Tuesday. As the iPhone is still Apple’s most-important product, accounting for about 60 per cent of revenue, analysts were looking for 41.6 million iPhone units in the quarter, and an average selling price of US$699, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg News. Huawei tops Q2 China handset sales, while Xiaomi dials wrong number The findings from Canalys were echoed by another research agency Counterpoint, which also indicated in a Wednesday report that Huawei has surpassed Apple to become the second largest smartphone brand in the past quarter with similar shipment figures to those posted by Canalys. After 7 years of Apple-Samsung dominance, Huawei has managed to break the link by launching attractive, premium segment smartphones and capturing the mid-tier segment with its fast-growing Honor sub-brand, Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, said in the report. Pathak also noted that Honor is driving overseas growth for Huawei. Meanwhile Huawei and Honor expanded their combined China market share to a record 27 per cent in the three months to June, up from 21 per cent during the same period a year ago, marking the biggest share for any smartphone vendor in China since the second quarter of 2011, Canalys said in an earlier report released last week. Honor is continuing to diversify its product portfolio and on Tuesday launched the Note 10, which uses Huawei’s own Kirin 970 AI chip set and has a 6.95-inch sized screen – the largest ever made by the company – with a price tag starting from 2,799 yuan (US$410).