Huawei is on the march as its "aggressive expansion" threatens Samsung's domination of the world smartphone market.
New data from research company Gartner for the third quarter showed that Huawei's smartphone sales grew 43 per cent year-on-year. It is a major contrast to the performance of Samsung, which saw sales decline 14 per cent.
“The gap between Samsung and Huawei continues to shrink, as Huawei expands aggressively by investing in branding and distribution in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Asia/Pacific and Africa,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.
“Huawei is, for example, aggressively positioning its affordable Honor series smartphones to drive the shift from feature phones to smartphones in those markets.”
He said that if both Huawei and Xiaomi were taken out of the global smartphone vendors list, smartphone sales to end users would have declined by 5.2 per cent in the period.
Although Samsung is still the global leader in terms of market share, its stable of flagship phones - the S9, S9+ and Note 9 - have failed to take off while its mid-tier and low-end phones face strong competition from Chinese brands.
Apple meanwhile experienced a flat performance in the third quarter and remains third for market share with 11.8 per cent.
The launch of its new flagship handsets in September could give it a boost in the final quarter, although it is facing a "saturated premium smartphone market" according to Mr Gupta.
He said initial channel checks suggest that the Xs Max is outselling the Xs model.
The company has lost about a fifth of its market value since the start of October on signs of waning iPhone demand.
It has turned to strategies such as discount promotions whereby customers can trade in their old phone.
Attention is now turning to new technologies as brands try to stand out from the crowd.
Samsung, Huawei and LG are expected to launch new foldable phones next year but customers shouldn't expect a huge advance on their user experience.
Apple will wait till 2020 to release 5G iPhone
Samsung Galaxy S10 expected to come with six cameras, 5G support
Smartphone showdown: Huawei's latest vs Apple and Samsung
Is Samsung Galaxy Note 9 the new ‘best’ in Android phones?
“Beyond the initial interest these devices will be expensive and with usability trade-offs initially,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
“It will take time for vendors to build a strong ecosystem of software, and to get developers on board to generate attractive and innovative user experiences around foldable smartphones.”
Huawei is reportedly set to release a phone which can take 3-D pictures.
“This is technology that has never been seen before and, at the extreme, has the potential to change how we view the world,” Yusuke Toyoda, a sensors analyst at Fuji Chimera Research in Tokyo, told Bloomberg.
The 3-D images can then be used to create models of people and other objects that can be imported into augmented reality apps.