Huawei wants to overtake Apple and become the world’s number two smartphone player in 2018, as the Chinese vendor launched its latest high-end device.

Speaking to Reuters, Richard Yu, CEO of consumer business, said Huawei planned to take on Apple “step-by-step, innovation-by innovation” over the next two years.

The last few years has seen the company, traditionally a telecoms network supplier, also build its consumer devices brand, with some lofty ambitions to boot.

It is now number three in terms of smartphone shipments, with 9 per cent market share by shipping 33.6 million devices in the previous quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. It still has someway to go however, with Apple holding 12 per cent market share, shipping 45.5 million devices.

Both companies lag significantly behind market leader Samsung (20.1 per cent market share), but Yu is bullish on future prospects.

“When we announced four years ago that we wanted to sell phones, people told us we were crazy. When we said we wanted to sell 100 million phones, they told us we were crazy,” said Yu, speaking at the company’s launch of its Mate 9 device in Munich.

Mate 9
The company launched two versions of the device, costing €699, and a “Porsche branded” edition, priced at €1,395, both powered by Android 7 software.

The standard model has a 1080p full HD display, while the more expensive edition comes equipped with nearly twice the resolution.

Huawei is also heavily pushing the devices’ AI capabilities, which it said can learn about user habits, and give easier access to frequently used apps.

The Mate 9, like Samsung’s discontinued Note 7, features “supercharging” battery technology, delivering a day’s worth of power within 30 minutes, and a full two day charge after a 90 minute period.

In terms of the design, the standard edition has a 5.9 inch screen, while the Porsche Design has a 2K curved display, and is smaller, at 5.5 inches.

The former is available in six colours: Black, Space Grey, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold (pictured), Mocha Brown and Ceramic White, while the Porsche design comes in Graphite Black.

Huawei has designed its own chip for the phones, the Kirin 960, and it can also be fitted with a microSD card, offering up to 2 terabytes more storage. Mate 9 also has four inbuilt microphones.

Huawei is looking to use the devices to break into European markets, including Germany, France and the UK.