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Chinese tech conglomerate Huawei surpassed Apple to become the second largest smartphone brand worldwide in the second quarter of 2018 as South Korean giant Samsung continued to be the global leader, two reports said on Wednesday.

Samsung had 20 per cent share, followed by Huawei at 15 per cent market share and Apple with 11 per cent as global smartphone shipments declined 2 per cent to 360 million units annually in Q2, said Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research's "Market Monitor" service.

"Huawei had a good second quarter in 2018 as it shipped more smartphones than Apple to capture the second spot in the global smartphone rankings, after 7 years of Apple-Samsung dominance," said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.

Huawei with its sub-brand, Honor, is offering a broad and refreshed portfolio at affordable prices which are driving growth in the overseas market. "Honor, which is already strong in the e-commerce segment, is now adopting a multi-channel strategy through branded stores in the southeast Asia market. We expect store counts to increase in the future," Pathak noted.

According to Singapore-based market research firm Canalys, Huawei shipped 54 million handsets, up 41 per cent year-on-year. Samsung shipped 73 million units while Apple shipped 41 million iPhones.

Top 10 players now capture 79 per cent of the market, thereby leaving over 600 brands to compete for the remaining 21 per cent of the market.

"Major Chinese brands like OPPO, Vivo, Huawei are now focusing on increasing their average selling prices (ASPs) by bringing in features like artificial intelligence, bezel-less displays, dual cameras and innovative industrial designs in the affordable premium segment," explained Counterpoint Research Analyst Shobhit Srivastava.

Xiaomi was on the fourth spot, capturing 9 per cent market share with shipments of 33 million smartphones globally. OPPO and Vivo were the fifth and sixth largest brands during the quarter, capturing 8 per cent and 7 per cent market share, respectively.