Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Exhibitors stand at Huawei section at the World Future Energy Summit 2020 (WFES) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 13 January 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE

Huawei’s global smartphone shipments surpassed 240 million units in 2019 as it fought off US blacklist

  • Huawei was the only one of the top-five global smartphone vendors to achieve double-digit growth in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2019

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies shipped over 240 million smartphones globally in 2019, beating shipments of more than 200 million in 2018, and making progress despite being blacklisted in May by the US from doing business with American suppliers.

Among the handsets sold last year, 6.9 million units were 5G phones, and its high-end Mate series and P series recorded year-on-year increases of over 50 per cent, according to the company’s official account on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor, was the only one of the top-five global smartphone vendors to achieve double-digit growth in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2019 as overall global handset sales declined, according to recent data from research firm Gartner.

Huawei has warned that 2020 could be a difficult year though as it expects to remain on the US blacklist. “We won’t grow as rapidly as we did in the first half of 2019, growth that continued throughout the year owing to sheer momentum in the market,” rotating chairman Eric Xu said in a New Year’s message to employees.

Huawei said to be in talks with banks to raise US$2 billion

Global sales of smartphones contracted 0.4 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2018 while Huawei’s smartphone shipments recorded an increase of 26 per cent year on year, driven mainly by a strong performance in the domestic market, Gartner said in the report.

Facing the loss of Google services in future, Huawei has stepped up efforts at home and accounted for 42 per cent of the Chinese market in the third quarter of 2019, cutting the market shares of domestic rivals such as Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi, a separate report from IDC showed.

2020 will be a big year for 5G phones in China as the country accelerates the roll-out of 5G infrastructure and consumers begin to embrace the next-generation network, which offers data rates up to 100 times faster than what current 4G networks provide.

Although Apple does not have a 5G phone yet, other major phone vendors including Huawei, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo released 5G phones last year. Xiaomi, China’s fourth-largest smartphone brand, is planning to launch at least 10 5G smartphone models this year in an attempt to tap rising appetite for the new technology.

A total of 190 million 5G-enabled smartphones are expected to be shipped in 2020, accounting for 14 per cent of total smartphones shipments for the year, according to an IDC note released in November.

Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Huawei shrugs off US blacklist to ship 240m smartphones last year