The embattled Chinese phone maker shipped 54 million handsets in the quarter, an increase of 41 percent over last year, researcher Canalys reported. Its success was due in part to strong demand for its flagship P20 handset and its Honor sub-brand, the researcher said.
Samsung retained the smartphone crown but lost ground to upstart Huawei by shipping 73 million units, an 8 percent decline year-over year. Apple slipped to No. 3, shipping 41 million units with a growth rate of 1 percent.
"Huawei's strategy has evolved significantly over the last six months," Canalys analyst Mo Jia said in a statement. "Despite its failure to strike a US carrier partnership earlier this year, the company has turned around quickly, moving away from its drive for profitability and focusing instead on finding volume growth at the low end."
The milestone is a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for Huawei. The company, which makes carrier networking equipment in addition to phones, has come under fire from the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency, who during open Congressional testimony in February advised Americans not to purchase or use Huawei products and services out of concerns they're used to spy.
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