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August 21, 2017

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Europe fuels Huawei shipment bonanza

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd announced it has already shipped 100 million smartphones this year, two months ahead of last year's schedule, as the Shenzhen-based firm benefits from robust growth in Europe and rising sales of high-end smartphones.

He Gang, head of Huawei's smartphone unit, said last Friday western and northeastern Europe have been the firm's fastest-growing markets in 2016, as it steps up marketing efforts to build up its brand image.

"The year-on-year growth rate in these regions span between 50-100 percent," He said, adding that the firm is confident of shipping 140 million smartphones by the year-end.

Huawei, started as a telecom equipment maker, has recently emerged as the world's third largest smartphone vendor. It is seeking to displace Samsung and Apple as the world's largest smartphone phone vendor, after it secured the top position in China. Last year, it took Huawei 12 months to meet the 100 million shipment target.

According to He, the sales volume of its above-3,000 yuan ($445) handsets almost doubled in the past 10 months compared from a year earlier. The 2,000 to 3,000 yuan handset segment also managed year-on-year growth of 30 percent.

Jessie Ding, a research analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy Canalys, said: "The rapid growth in Europe, a smartphone market that is stable and saturated, demonstrates Huawei's increasing brand influence."

To build up its high-end image in consumer electronics, Huawei has signed Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi as its global ambassador to promote its products.

The firm also teamed up with Leica to offer dual cameras on its flagship phones, which turned out to be quite popular among European consumers, Ding added.

Data from Canalys show that in the second quarter of this year, Huawei shipped five million smartphones to Europe, accounting for a market share of 11 percent. Last year, the figure was 7 percent.

Xiang Ligang, CEO of the telecom industry website cctime.com, said Huawei has been paying increasing attention to the European market where it debuted most of its high-end smartphones. "Samsung's ongoing smartphone recall crisis will give Huawei a big opportunity in European countries where consumers are very brand-conscious," Xiang said.

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