ZTE grabs smartphone market share from HTC, RIM in Q3

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While Samsung Electronics and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) grabbed headlines for leading the smartphone market in the third quarter, and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) fell out of the top five smartphone vendor rankings for the first time, Chinese vendor ZTE quietly grabbed market share from established players.

Click here for details from IDC on the smartphone market in the third quarter.

ZTE was the No. 4 overall handset company in the third quarter, according to research Strategy Analytics, and just barely No. 5, according to IDC. However, according IDC's tallies, ZTE was the No. 4 global smartphone vendor in the quarter, stealing share from HTC and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) in the quarter.

According to IDC, ZTE shipped 7.5 million smartphones in the quarter and captured 4.2 percent of the global smartphone market, up from 3.3 percent in the year-ago period. RIM, meanwhile, shipped 7.7 million BlackBerry units in the quarter and just barely captured more share, at 4.3 percent, down from 9.6 percent in the year-ago period and a reflection of the troubles RIM has had in advance of the launch of BlackBerry 10.

HTC also saw its share decline, as its shipped 7.3 million smartphones in the quarter and took 4 percent of the global market, down from 10.3 percent in the third quarter of 2011. HTC has been trying to revive its sales behind its One brand of Android phones, but those have so far failed to live up to expectations. As a result, HTC has turned to Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 to gain more attention--HTC will team with Microsoft for a joint marketing push to sell its newest Windows Phones, the high-end Windows Phone 8X and the mid-range Windows Phone 8S.

Once primarily a purveyor of low-end devices, ZTE has recently been getting more sales with U.S. carriers of its mid-range smartphones. "ZTE has grown its smartphone sales of late thanks primarily to an uptick in lower-cost smartphone sales in many emerging markets," IDC noted. "The company has traditionally been dependent on sales of phones to China, where the company is based. However, notable progress was made in North America last quarter."

For more:
- see this IDC release
- see this Strategy Analytics release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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