Huawei saw a 70 per cent increase in smartphone shipments in the EMEA region in Q3, allowing it to top 10 million units in a single quarter for the first time, research firm Canalys said.

The company’s market share of 14 per cent put it a little behind Apple (15 per cent), with Samsung leading the market (37 per cent). “It is now in a position to wrestle Apple for number two spot in EMEA next year,” the analysts said.

While Huawei is a key player in developing markets in the Middle East and Africa with its low-end devices, its recent momentum has come from Europe.

“Huawei is becoming much smarter in Europe. It used to focus on price-to-performance ratio. This was a good disruptive strategy at the time, which helped it exploit falling operator subsidies, and the shift toward open-market channels such as e-commerce. But it has now evolved to become a major smartphone brand and innovator in its own right,” said Ben Stanton, research analyst at Canalys.

While Europe’s phablet market has not taken off in the same way as in some other regions, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 woes, along with the lack of competitors such as LG Electronics’ V20 and Xiaomi Mi Note 2, means that with its Mate 9, “Huawei now finds itself with no major competition in the 5.5-inch-plus segment”.

It was also noted that Huawei is “not perfect,” with issues around specification overlap between different product lines.