Huawei eyeing to dislodge Samsung as World No. 2 smartphone maker

Perhaps Samsung did not want to rush into the World Mobile Congress (WMC) with a half-baked product. After all it has traditionally used the forum to launch its new devices. Hopefully the cost of not launching the product at the WMC is factored in its calculation to regain market share during the launch of the Galaxy S8, its next flagship, expected to be by the end of March 2017.

With Samsung choosing to not showcase or launch its next flagship in the telecom industry’s biggest annual meet, phone manufacturers are piling in to fill the gap left by the South Korean tech giant.

In its quest to displace Samsung, Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Huawei is likely to be the most likely contender that will fill the hole in the premium spectre of the market.

There are no prizes for guessing that Apple is the world no. 1 smartphone manufacturer.

While Huawei has launched a slew of new products to fill the gap left by Samsung, other contenders vying to fill gap include Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Gionee.

Not ones to be left behind, BlackBerry and Nokia have also joined the race with their retro models.

Samsung’s next flagship, the Galaxy S8, is expected to be launched by the end of March 2017. However, it has presented two new tablets at the Mobile World Congress.

“The past six months have undoubtedly been one of the most challenging periods of our history,” said David Lowes, Samsung’s European marketing chief at a news conference in Barcelona. “We’re determined to learn every possible lesson.”

Vying for the second spot, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group Richard Yu stated, “The competition is feisty but I think we have a good chance”.

According to Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, during the fourth quarter, Samsung’s smartphone market share dropped to 17.7% while Apple’s rose to 17.8%.

As for the question of Huawei is keeping the seat hot before Samsung manages to regain its market share, Richard Windsor of Radio Free Mobile, an independent research analyst cast some aspersions as to the possibility.

“Samsung has taken a massive $5.4 billion hit to profits, apologized profusely for the recall and admitted shortcomings in its quality and assurance process but I don’t think that the full effects of this issue have fully hit home,” wrote Windsor in a blog post while pointing out that Samsung’s reputation has taken a beating and stood at No. 42, a fall from No. 7, based on a survey from Harris Poll.

To regain its top spot, Samsung will have to fight off Huawei’s aggressive pricing strategy, which placed its high-end P10 smartphone debut for launch at $685 (649 euros) in March, ahead of Samsung’s S8 launch.

Huawei’s likely target market is Europe.

Fortunes can change rapidly in the smartphone market.

“The long game in smartphones simply is a marketing game,” said Tim Coulling, an analyst at Canalys, a research firm.

($1 = 0.9468 euros)

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