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Huawei Aims to Become Top Smartphone Vendor in 2019

Huawei Technologies said it could become the top smartphone manufacturer in sales this year, as Reuters reports. That’s even without countries like the U.S. trying to restrict market access over claimed security concerns.

Huawei saw a 50% leap in consumer sales, topping $52 billion in 2018. That means phone sales made up 48% of the Chinese company’s total sales, which was more than its network infrastructure division for the first time. It expects sales to be stronger this year with 5G models.

The company is already the second largest smartphone vendor and biggest seller of network infrastructure.

Apple, long a power in smartphone sales, saw a major sales drop in the last calendar quarter of 2018. One of the big reasons was a big downturn in sales into China, an area of strength for Huawei.

And early in January, Samsung and LG both shocked investors with warnings of low profits from the fourth quarter of 2018.

Huawei has faced big opposition from a number of countries, led by the U.S., that claim it’s a cybersecurity threat directed by China’s government. The company has fought back, demanding proof of the charges. To date, there’s been no hard evidence offered.

Still, the company faces sales bans in the U.S., Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. One example of the pressure is that top U.S. universities are switching to other vendors rather than lose federal funding under a new national security law.

However, there are some attempts to step back. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters that her country’s actions were “not about a particular vendor” and that Huawei would have an opportunity to address security concerns.