Global sales of 5G smartphones are forecast to hit 160 million next year, but that growth hinges in part on Huawei, and on China meeting aggressive 5G targets, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.
Sales of 5G phones in China could reach 80 million in 2020, with the country expected to be the largest 5G smartphone market, said David Kerr, SVP at Strategy Analytics, in a news release about the report.
“Significantly, China holds the key to 5G volumes in 2020. The winner in China will have huge leverage for driving down the learning curve of 5G devices,” said Ville Petteri-Ukonaho, associate director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement.
As Huawei faces uncertainty in international markets, including a current trade dispute with the United States, the tech vendor has ramped up its domestic efforts, and the research firm believes Huawei is best positioned to capture most of China’s 5G smartphone sales.
“By Q2 2019 it [Huawei] had expanded its smartphone market share [in China] to almost 40%, far outpacing all other competitors,” said Kerr. “It is well positioned to leverage that dominant position to take a commanding lead in China’s 5G smartphone market in 2020 and beyond.”
The firm noted that while Samsung is the clear global 5G leader, the company only holds a 1% share of the Chinese phone market.
“If China meets its aggressive targets, Huawei could cut deeply into Samsung’s 5G leadership, positioning it for recovery and growth in Western Europe and other global markets,” added Kerr.
Still, Huawei this week faced further challenges from the U.S. government, which placed an additional 46 Huawei affiliates on the Commerce Department’s Entity List that prohibits U.S. suppliers from selling technology components to the Chinese vendor. Huawei and 70 affiliates were first placed on the trade blacklist in May.
This comes as the agency also granted another 90-day extension of its Temporary General License, to allow U.S. companies time to transition away from Huawei equipment.
In a new report from Bloomberg, the outlet said Huawei’s internal estimates show the company expects to sell 60 million fewer phones this year than it would have had U.S. burdens not been imposed.
In Europe, Huawei smartphone shipments fell by 16% to 8.5 million units in the second quarter, reducing the vendor’s market share to 18.8%, according to a recent report from market research company Canalys.