• Huawei CEO Richard Yu proclaimed his company will be the biggest smartphone manufacturer as early as this year.
  • The company saw smartphone shipments grow by 35 percent from 2017 to 2018.
  • Yu also reaffirmed that the Huawei foldable phone will launch at Mobile World Congress in February.


At a recent Huawei news conference in Beijing (via Reuters), mobile division CEO Richard Yu made a bold statement: “Even without the U.S. market, we will be number one in the world. I believe at the earliest this year, and next year at the latest.”

Yu is referring to the company’s smartphone division, which is currently the second-largest in the world, bested only by South Korean rival Samsung.

For most of 2018, Huawei was in third place behind Samsung and Apple but overtook Apple’s spot in August. Throughout 2018, the company had made considerable gains while both Samsung and Apple faced their share of hardships.

Reportedly, Huawei shipped over 208 million smartphones last year, a whopping 35 percent increase over 2017 when it shipped 153 million handsets. This growth is in stark contrast with the mobile industry as a whole which saw three percent fewer smartphones shipped worldwide as compared to the previous year.

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However, Huawei has also faced some major hardships recently as governments around the world place full or partial bans on Huawei products due to allegations that the company has close ties with the Chinese Communist government. Although no solid proof has ever been brought to light surrounding these claims, it hasn’t stopped politicians from being wary that Huawei could allow Beijing to spy on other countries through Huawei products.

“Our customers have trust and confidence in us,” Yu said when asked about these issues. “It’s only politics guys which are trying to put pressure on us.”

Because of these political problems, Huawei has almost no presence in the United States, one of the biggest global markets for smartphones. If Huawei were able to sell products in the U.S., there is little doubt it would quickly ascend to become the top smartphone manufacturer.

During the same press conference, Yu also reaffirmed that Huawei will launch its foldable smartphone at Mobile World Congress at the end of February and it will be available for purchase in April at the earliest. He also discussed the Balong 5000 chipset which will directly compete with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem (Yu declared the Balong 5000 is the world’s most powerful 5G modem).

NEXT: Huawei foldable phone — Everything we know

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