According to the new figures, Huawei sold 55.8 million smartphones worldwide in Q2 compared to Samsung’s 53.7 million.

Huawei’s success is in spite of the May 2019 US trade ban that has left the firm unable to ship new phones with Google services. This has hindered its growth in the West with shipments down 27%, but an 8% rise in Chinese shipments means it now sells 70% of its phones in its native China, where Google is not present in the market.

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to Huawei’s success, according to Canalys.

Image: Canalys

“This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Ben Stanton. “If it wasn’t for COVID-19, it wouldn’t have happened. Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business. Samsung has a very small presence in China, with less than 1% market share, and has seen its core markets, such as Brazil, India, the United States and Europe, ravaged by outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns.”

Given this analysis of the market, it’s not a given that Huawei will retain its spot once the rest of the world sees smartphone shipments recover. But it is a reminder to the West that the company is incredibly dominant in its home market and that the trade ban and ongoing restrictions of Huawei’s 5G equipment in mobile networks will not necessarily hinder its general progress.