China's Huawei Technologies Co has become the third biggest smartphone maker in the world, beating other big names like Sony and LG, according to new research data.

Latest smartphone market share data released by the research firm IDC showed that Huawei notched the third position in the smartphone market share after Samsung and Apple. This is the first time the company made it to the top five positions. Other smartphone makers, Sony and ZTE, rounded off the top five list.

"The fact that Huawei and ZTE now find themselves among the top five smartphone vendors marks a significant shift for the global market," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phone team as quoted by AFP.

"Both companies have grown volumes by focusing on the mass market, but in recent quarters they have turned their attention toward higher-end devices. In addition, both companies have pushed the envelope in terms of industrial design with larger displays and smaller form factors, as well as innovative applications and experiences," he added.

The report showed that there was a 44 percent surge in smartphone sales in the year 2012.South Korean tech giant Samsung saw its smartphone market share go up to 29 percent from 22.5 percent the previous year. iPhone maker Apple showed a decline in the market though it has made to the second position.

"Samsung and Apple together accounted for half of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012," said Linda Sui at Strategy Analytics.

"Large marketing budgets, extensive distribution channels and attractive product portfolios have enabled Samsung and Apple to tighten their grip on the smartphone industry."