Huawei clings onto No. 2 smartphone spot amid US row

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Huawei clings onto No. 2 smartphone spot amid US row

Huawei has held on to its spot as the world's second biggest smartphone vendor in the first quarter, before being blacklisted by the United States, research and advisory firm Gartner said.

Gartner also said Huawei continued to reduce the gap with Samsung, but warned that growth could be limited in the near term.

The United States on 15 May blocked Huawei from buying US goods saying the company was involved in activities contrary to national security. The Trump administration softened its stance last week by granting Huawei a licence to buy US goods until 19 August.

Gartner said Samsung retained its top spot in worldwide smartphone sales, achieving a 19.2 percent market share in the first quarter of 2019. Huawei achieved the highest year-over-year growth among the world's top five - Samsung, Huawei, Apple and Chinese smartphone makers OPPO and Vivo.

Huawei sold 58.4 million smartphone units in the quarter, with growth across all regions, the report showed.

Total global sales of smartphones to end users fell 2.7 percent in the quarter, with 373 million units sold

Huawei did particularly well in two of its biggest markets, Europe and Greater China, where its smartphone sales grew by 69 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Huawei has a 29.5 percent market share of Greater China's smartphone market.

But the impact of the US action against Huawei is likely to spook buyers. PriceSpy, a product comparison site that attracts an average of 14 million visitors per month, said last week that Huawei handsets were drawing fewer clicks from online shoppers.

"Unavailability of Google apps and services on Huawei smartphones, if implemented, will upset Huawei's international smartphone business which is almost half of its worldwide phone business," Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, said.

"Not the least it brings apprehension among buyers, limiting Huawei's growth in the near term," he added.

Companies that have either shunned Huawei completely or restricted buying from the company include Google, Softbank's ARM, Analog Devices, US chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, Broadcom, Japanese electronics maker Panasonic and BT Group's EE.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane Merriman/David Evans)

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