Huawei surpassed Apple's global cellphone sales and became the second largest smartphone provider in the world this year, according to market share at the end of the second quarter. The new goal for the Chinese company is the first move, currently owned by Samsung, in 2020.
"Next year, we will be very close to number one, maybe we will be equal to Samsung, and at least the following year, maybe we have the opportunity (to be number one)," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Division, for CNBC in an exclusive interview .
Huawei talks about folding phones, 5G technology, and augmented reality glasses. But that is not always a world class company. In fact, Huawei doesn't even have its own smartphone until 2010, three years after Apple first debuted with the first iPhone.
This company has become one of the largest technology companies in China due to the growth of cellular network equipment and is now one of the largest suppliers in the world for this market. It is also an original designer (ODM), which means it is designed and manufactured for other companies.
Innovation is the key to Huawei's rise
In 2010, Huawei launched its first smartphone called IDEOS with an operating system from Google Android and cost around 60 euros. Eight years later, the company launched mobile phones with genuine artificial intelligence and premium equipment at more than 1,000 euros.
Switching from ODM to giant today has been carried out by Richard Yu, who previously worked for Huawei's business-to-business division (B2B) and became CEO of Consumer Group in 2012. At that time, some market trends have made Yu see Huawei's potential in mobile market, including switching from smartphones to smartphones and 4G mobile internet arrivals.
He has decided that Huawei will stop producing classic cellphones and focus on high-end smartphones with more powerful batteries and larger screens, that's what consumers demand.
The CEO said he likes to take risks, which has helped Huawei grow rapidly.
"I encourage the team to have the ability to innovate, to make bold innovations, to do something that some say is a little crazy, to provoke themselves and the industry," Yu told CNBC.
For Yu, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a key technology that will lead smart phones to the next level and help companies grow in the future.
"AI will come in. AI will be the engine for all future services and will be the basis for working on multiple devices, will connect all applications." "The biggest change over the next ten years is AI's telephone capabilities," Yu said.
Huawei is currently working on a folding telephone that will debut next year and will become the company's first 5G phone. Yu also said that the augmented reality (AR) glasses were also in the factory. This new technology can provide the engine of growth for Huawei ahead.
In turn, Samsung CEO DJ Koh told CNBC in a September interview that the company changed its strategy for middle-class smartphones to bring more innovative features to their phones at lower prices, a move that could help reduce Huawei's threat. This strategy has been seen in the Galaxy A9, the world's first smartphone with a quad lens, launched in October.
And Samsung won't be easily defeated. It has fallen from the first position in the smartphone market three times over the past five years, usually only for a quarter, according to data from Counterpoint Research.
Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint, estimates that Huawei must sell between 30 and 40 million more quarter smartphones to deal with Samsung.
But Shah said that Samsung's sales could be completed due to intense competition, which could help Huawei become number one.
Yu's ambition is bigger than a smartphone. They want Huawei to start developing new products such as laptops and smart speakers. Yu aims to create a smart device ecosystem.
"We want to take a leadership role for the next ten years to become an integrated smart solution," Yu told CNBC.