In brief: Huawei shipped more smartphones globally in the second quarter than any other vendor, marking the first time the embattled Chinese technology company has outpaced rivals for the top position and the first time in nine years that a company not named Apple or Samsung finished in first place according to market analyst Canalys.

During the most recent quarter, Huawei managed to ship 55.8 million devices. That’s five percent fewer year-over-year but still enough to beat out second-place Samsung who moved 53.7 million smartphones, a far more significant 30 percent drop compared to the same period a year ago.

What’s more impressive is that Huawei was able to do this amid US government restrictions which have stifled international business. Indeed, the company’s overseas shipments fell 27 percent during the quarter but were offset by a strong showing at home.

Canalys Senior Analyst Ben Stanton said that if it wasn’t for Covid-19, Huawei wouldn’t have been able to secure the top spot. “Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business,” Stanton noted, adding that Samsung has a very small presence in China and has taken major hits in other markets like the US, Europe, Brazil and India due to outbreaks and lockdowns.

As the global economy starts to recover, it’ll be equally as difficult for Huawei to maintain its lead. “Strength in China alone will not be enough to sustain Huawei at the top once the global economy starts to recover,” said Canalys Analyst Mo Jia.

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