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Huawei tumbles in global sales rankings after U.S. sanctions

A Huawei smartphone showroom is shown in Beijing on Saturday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
A Huawei smartphone showroom is shown in Beijing on Saturday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- China's Huawei tumbled four spots to become the sixth-best selling cellphone vendor in the world last quarter after U.S. sanctions crippled the company's sales, industry analysts said.

Huawei shipped 32 million smartphones worldwide, marking the first time in six years it fell outside the Top 5 smartphone vendors, Canalys research showed.

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"Huawei dramatically receded in most markets as the result of the U.S. sanctions," Canalys research analyst Amber Liu said in a statement.

Amid Huawei's decline, Apple became the word's No. 1 smartphone seller, rising from the No. 2 spot.

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In the fourth quarter, Apple shipped its most iPhones worldwide in a single quarter, at 81.8 million, Canalys found.

Year-over-year Apple's worldwide smartphone shipments were up 5% with 207.1 million shipments, second in amount to only Samsung, whose full-year shipments decreased 14% to 255.6 million smartphones. Huawei was ranked third in global shipments for the full year of 2020, even though its global shipments were down 22% to 188.5 million smartphones.

"The iPhone 12 is a hit," Canalys analyst Vincent Theilke said in a statement. "Apple is better positioned than its competitors on 5G, being heavily skewed toward developed markets and mobile operator sales channels."

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Domestically, Canalys said Huawei's mainland smartphone shipments fell 44% to 18.8 million and its market share declined 22% in the third quarter though it remained the market leader, the research showed. Year-over-year mainland shipments decreased 13% to 123.3 million shipments.

Other Chinese companies increased mainland smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter, but not enough to offset Huawei's losses. Oppo's shipments increased 23% to 17.2 million smartphones and Vivo increased 20% to 15.7 million shipments. Oppo's and Vivo's shipments were also still down, 12% and 8%, respectively, year over year. Xiaomi saw the largest growth of 52% in the fourth quarter, which led to mainland shipments of 12.2 million smartphones, and was up 3% year over year to 39.8 million.

"The China market declined 11% to arrive at just over 330 million units, as market recovery was stalled by the rapid deterioration of Huawei's performance as a result of U.S. sanctions," Canalys said.

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Meanwhile, Apple's market picked up in China with shipments increasing 20% in the fourth quarter to 15.3 million smartphones and 18% market share.

"Apple had a great year in China, where full year shipments finally returned to the 2018 level, driven by both iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models," Liu said in a statement. "Apple's launch of iPhone 12 series in China coincides with Huawei's struggle, its only rival in the high-end segment, whose flagship Mate series shipped fewer than 4 million units in Q4."

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Year over year, Apple's domestic shipments increased 14% to 34.4 million shipments, Canalys found.

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