Huawei sales accelerate as it shifts 200m smartphones in 2019

Huawei Mate X
(Image credit: Future)

Huawei has sold 200 million smartphones so far in 2019, reaching the milestone 64 days earlier than last year despite its ongoing difficulties in the US.

The Chinese manufacturer’s devices have long been popular in its homeland due to the combination of advanced features and affordable price tag. But increased brand awareness and a stream of technically innovative devices had seen it finally crack some Western markets.

As other vendors struggled to achieve growth and increase share in a contracting market, Huawei defied industry challenges to become the world’s second largest phone maker, overtaking Apple.

Huawei smartphone sales

Huawei has attributed accelerated sales to the innovations included in the Huawei P30 and Mate 30 range, although the popularity of its mid-range devices and demand in developing markets will also have played a major role.

However the company’s bid to overtake Samsung and establish a foothold in the West has been undermined by a blacklisting from the US government on national security grounds. This pevents American firms from doing business with Huawei.  

The ruling limited Huawei’s access to important components and to the Android operating system as well as Google applications. Huawei is working on its own operating system, HarmonyOS, but the absence of key software will limit demand of its devices.

Some European operators withdrew Huawei’s 5G smartphones from their launch lineups in a move that handed first mover advantage to other manufacturers.

Huawei has frequently denied any allegations of wrongdoing and Washington has not produced any evidence to support its accusations. The government has also suggested that some US suppliers can strike deals with Huawei so long as there is no security risk.

Despite the difficulties, Huawei is pressing ahead with its device and networking strategies. It has now started pre-sales for the delayed Huawei 5G Mate X smartphone – the company’s first foldable handset.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.