Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei`s consumer business group, launches the Mate 30 smartphone range in Munich. Photo: Reuters
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei`s consumer business group, launches the Mate 30 smartphone range in Munich. Photo: Reuters

With Honor formally separating from Huawei and operating as an independent smartphone maker at the start of 2021, Huawei will have more difficulty in regaining market share for smartphones this year, moving out of the top-five club, a new report said on Tuesday.

Huawei is currently projected to tumble from third place in 2020 to seventh place in 2021.

The top six for 2021, in order, will be Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and Transsion—accounting for almost 80 per cent of the global smartphone market.

The annual global smartphone production for 2021 is forecast to increase by 9 per cent (on-year) to 1.36 billion units, according to market research firm TrendForce.

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Owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global smartphone production reached a mere 1.25 billion units in 2020.

The top six smartphone brands ranked by production volume for 2020, in order, were Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo.

“The most glaring change from the previous year is Huawei’s market share,” the report mentioned.

The Honor spin-off is an attempt to ensure the survival of Honor, which has become a major brand in the global smartphone market after years of labour.

“However, it remains to be seen whether the ‘new’ Honor can capture consumers’ attention without the support from Huawei,” the report mentioned.

Also, Huawei and the new Honor will be directly competing against each other in the future, especially if the former is somehow freed from the US trade sanctions at a later time.

“With the new Honor seeking to ramp up production, Huawei will have more difficulty in regaining market share for smartphones”.

Penetration rate of 5G smartphones is likely to rise to 37 per cent in 2021, for a yearly production of about 500 million units, while production will still be constrained by limited foundry capacities.

“While 5G will remain a major topic in the smartphone market this year, various countries will also resume their 5G infrastructure build-out, and mobile processor manufacturers will continue to release entry-level and mid-range 5G chips,” the report noted.

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