After Apple, Huawei Takes On Samsung In Race To Become World's Top Foldable Phone Maker: Report

In a significant market shift, China’s Huawei Technologies has outpaced Samsung SSNLF in global foldable smartphone shipments for Q1 2024, after turning the heat on Apple Inc. in the Chinese market.

What Happened: According to the latest report from Counterpoint Research, the global foldable smartphone market saw a 49% YoY increase in Q1 2024, marking the highest growth rate in six quarters.

The surge was primarily attributed to significant shipment increases by Chinese OEMs, with Huawei taking the lead for the first time.

Huawei’s shift to 5G in its foldable devices played a crucial role in its 257% year-on-year growth during this quarter. The company’s 5G-enabled foldables accounted for 84% of its total foldable shipments by Q1 2024, up from a portfolio solely consisting of 4G LTE devices a year ago.

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The Mate X5, Huawei’s first 5G book-type foldable launched in September last year, has been a bestseller in China’s foldable market for three consecutive quarters. In April, Huawei also introduced its first 5G clamshell model, the Pocket 2, significantly boosting the Q1 shipments.

Meanwhile, other players like Honor and Motorola also saw substantial shipment growth in overseas markets. Honor's global foldable market share jumped from 3% a year ago to 12% in Q1 2024, making it the third-largest player. Motorola increased its global market share to 11% to rank fourth.

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Interestingly, book-type foldables accounted for 55% of the global foldable market shipments in Q1 2024, surpassing the clamshell type for the first time since 2021.

Despite this, expectations remain high for the clamshell market's growth potential this year, with Samsung planning to reclaim its market leadership with the upcoming Z Flip 6.

Why It Matters: This development comes amid a backdrop of increasing competition in the smartphone market.

In January, analysts predicted that foldable phones and Huawei’s growth would pose a threat to Apple.

Huawei’s Mate 70 series was launched in September to compete with Apple’s iPhone 16.

In May, Apple had to slash its iPhone prices for the second time in the Asian nation due to the heat from China’s homegrown brands. Huawei’s rise to the top of the foldable smartphone market underscores the shifting dynamics in the global smartphone industry.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

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