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Even with its problems, Huawei is the global leader in active 5G-ready devices


While restrictions from the U.S. have been weighing Huawei down like heavy anchors, the Chinese tech firm is now expected to finish this year as the seventh largest smartphone manufacturer in the world after briefly taking the top spot during one month last year. Besides being unable to access its U.S. supply chain (which includes Google), the company also is having a hard time obtaining cutting-edge chips thanks to U.S. export rules that ban foundries using U.S. equipment from shipping to Huawei. The latter also sold off its Honor sub-brand for $15 billion. Huawei did this so that Honor would be out from under the thumb of the aforementioned U.S restrictions.
Despite all of this, there was one category where Huawei still managed to finish number one, ahead of Samsung and Apple, for a full quarter. According to Finbold, Huawei had the leading market share in active 5G-ready devices during the fourth quarter of 2020. For that three month period, the firm owned 26.9% of that market followed by Samsung’s 25.1%. During the last three months of 2020, Apple released its first 5G iPhone models and quickly took a 19.5% slice of the 5G pie. Vivo’s 11.8% market share placed it fourth, and rounding out the top five was Honor and its 6.9% share.

Interestingly, as recently as last November, Samsung had a huge lead over Huawei in the active 5G-ready market with a 44.9% share compared to just 8.6% for the Chinese manufacturer. But things exploded for Huawei in December as far as 5G is concerned and the company swapped places with Samsung. The big question for Huawei is whether it will be able to maintain enough inventory of the high-end chipsets and 5G modem chips needed to produce its 5G phones.

Considering that Huawei has seen its market share in China decline from a leading 42.4% during the third quarter of 2020 to just 16% during the first quarter of 2021, it will be interesting to see whether the company can maintain the trend that has put it on top of the active 5G-ready market. During the fourth quarter, Huawei’s released the Mate 40 Pro and the Mate 40; both models support 5G.

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