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March 30, 2017

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Huawei catching up with Samsung, Apple

PARIS -- Chinese smartphone maker Huawei managed to gain ground on Samsung and Apple in terms of market share last year, following the problems encountered by the two sector giants, the Gartner consultancy group said on Wednesday.

Over the year as a whole, the Chinese maker saw its sales leap by 26.7 percent, while the South Korean and U.S. rivals both saw their sales decline by 4.3 percent, Gartner said in a study.

As result, Huawei was able to increase its share of the smartphone sector to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, while Samsung saw its market share shrink by two full percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple's contracted to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent.

"Chinese makers succeeded in winning market share over last year and Huawei now seems to be the main rival to the two giants, even if the gap remains large," Gartner analyst Annette Zimmermann told AFP.

Among the other Chinese smartphone makers are OPPO, BBK Communication Equipment (with its One Plus and Vivo brands), ZTE, Xiaomi and Lenovo.

"We're seeing a very real progression compared with earlier years, when the number three maker and the others had struggled to hold on to a market share of more than 4 percent," Zimmermann said.

"Huawei looks likely to strengthen its position again this year," she added.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 alone, the launch of the iPhone 7 and Samsung's difficulties with its Note 7 model enabled Apple to take top slot in the market with a share of 17.9 percent or 77 million units sold.

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