(Samsung Electronics Co-Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics Co. was the No. 2 player in the global 5G smartphone market last year in terms of shipments, industry data showed Wednesday, as the South Korean tech giant faces tough challenges from Chinese rivals. Samsung had a 35.8 percent share in the global 5G smartphone market last year, with shipments of 6.7 million 5G smartphones worldwide, according to data from market researcher Strategy Analytics.
Chinese tech titan Huawei ranked first by shipping 6.9 million 5G smartphones for a 36.9 percent market share, the data showed.
Despite the US-China trade war, Huawei's top position in the market was mostly helped by sales on home soil. However, Samsung's 5G smartphone shipments spanned a wide range of countries, from Britain to the United States, data showed.
Another Chinese smartphone maker, Vivo Communication Technology Co., took the third spot, with a 10.7 percent market share, followed by Xiaomi Corp. with 6.4 percent. South Korean tech firm LG Electronics Inc. was No. 5 at 4.8 percent.
Global shipments of 5G smartphones reached 18.7 million units in 2019, according to Strategy Analytics, which was higher than industry expectations.
"Fierce vendor competition in China and heavy carrier subsidies across South Korea have been the main drivers of 5G demand," Ken Hyers, a director at Strategy Analytics, said. "Other regions, like the U.S. and Europe, are lagging behind Asia, but we expect them to close the gap later this year.
The sales of 5G smartphones around the globe will pick up this year as phone makers are set to release more handsets supporting 5G. Gartner, a U.S.-based market researcher, predicted that the global 5G smartphone sales this year could surpass 221 million units.
"Upcoming 5G models from Apple iPhone and other big brands mean 5G will be the hottest part of the worldwide smartphone market this year," Neil Mawston, an executive director at Strategy Analytics, said.
"However, the recent coronavirus scare is currently restricting trade in some parts of China, and this may well cause a slowdown in 5G supply or demand across Asia or worldwide during the first half of 2020. Industry players should be prepared for bumpy 5G sales in some markets." (Yonhap)