Huawei sees 62% bump in first-half smartphone sales, commits to 80M shipments in 2014

Huawei said its smartphone shipments jumped 62 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2014 and that it is on pace to reach its goal of shipping 80 million smartphones for the full year.

The Chinese network equipment and device vendor said that it shipped a total of 64.21 million devices in the first half, including 34.27 million smartphones. That brings the company to around 43 percent of its smartphone shipment goal for 2014.

"Based on the growth momentum at the moment, we are firmly moving toward our full-year target," Shao Yang, vice president of marketing in the consumer business group, told Reuters in a written statement. Huawei said in March it would ship 80 million smartphones in 2014.

In 2013, Huawei wound up shipping 52 million smartphones, below the 60 million figure the company forecast for 2013 smartphone shipments. In 2012, Huawei had forecast it would ship 50-60 million smartphone units but wound up shipping 32 million.

The vendor said its growth in the first half of 2014 stemmed from the launch of several flagship smartphones such as Mate 2 4G and high-end Ascend P7, which is being sold in more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle-East, Africa and Latin America. Less than two months after its global launch, Huawei said it sold nearly 2 million P7 units. The Ascend P7 sports a 5-inch full HD display and features an 8-megapixel front-facing camera designed for taking selfies.

Huawei is hoping to make more of an impact on the U.S. smartphone market by releasing high-end devices that carry its brand. Last month the company announced it would bring the Ascend Mate 2 to the U.S. market as its first smartphone sold in the market without a carrier label or specific carrier customization. Huawei is also selling the phone through its new online store, The mid-range device has a 6.1-inch display and is being sold unlocked for $299 and supports AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) networks, including for LTE. Huawei said the gadget has also been popular in China, Europe and Southeast Asia as well as North America.

Huawei was the No. 3 smartphone player in the world in the first quarter, according to research firm IDC, but the company still trails Samsung Electronics and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) with only 5 percent market share. Huawei is also facing competition from other Chinese competitors, including Lenovo, Xiaomi and ZTE.

As part of its efforts to become more of a global brand, Huawei said it has "intensified sponsorship" activities with leading sports teams and organizations, including AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal Football Club. Huawei said all of this activity "contributed significantly to the increase of Huawei's brand awareness in Europe and around the world." In the Netherlands, Huawei said its sponsorship of the Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax, which was formalized in May, helped it grow smartphone market share there.

In the second half of the year, Huawei said it will continue to commit to LTE devices, especially in the mid- and high-end segments, as well as wearable devices. The company also plans to work more closely with carriers and open online sales channels.

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article

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