Sony is eyeing third place in the smartphone market, behind Apple and Samsung but ahead of ambitious rivals such as Huawei and ZTE, Reuters reports. And in order to secure third spot in this competitive market, it will also need to beat rivals such as Nokia, HTC, RIM and LG, as well as the Chinese players.

According to figures from IDC, Sony was in fourth place in the smartphone race during the fourth quarter of 2012, with market share of 4.5 per cent.

This put it behind Huawei, which had a 4.9 per cent share, but ahead of ZTE, with 4.3 per cent.

However, while Sony’s year-on-year shipment growth of 55.6 per cent means it is outpacing ZTE (48.4 per cent growth), it is lagging Huawei (89.5 per cent).

The report also said that the company will alter its smartphone development plans for each market, citing comments from Kunimasa Suzuki (pictured), president and CEO.

It was reported earlier this year that the vendor is considering focusing its efforts on the premium smartphone space.

At Mobile World Congress last week, the company said that 2013 would be a “breakthrough” year for its smartphone business.