After beating Apple in terms of global smartphone shipments in the previous quarter, Huawei is now believed to be eyeing the top spot and predicted to realize such ambitious goal by late 2019.

Multiple market research firms including IDC and Canalys revealed early this week that Huawei outperformed the Cupertino giant in worldwide smartphone shipments for the quarter ending on June 30. The milestone arguably made Huawei the second largest smartphone vendor next to Samsung. 

Now that Huawei is part of the top two, the Chinese phone maker is reportedly setting its sights on the top spot and it may likely reach it next year. Industry sources disclosed to Digitimes Wednesday that Huawei’s current goal is to ramp up its shipments at a 30-40 percent pace. This is something that’s very doable considering that in the second quarter the company’s shipments grew by 40.9 percent compared to the year prior. 

During the second quarter, Huawei managed to ship 54.2 million smartphone units. Apple, on the other hand, shipped 41.3 million units. As for Samsung, it was still the top vendor after shipping 71.5 million units in the quarter.

Nevertheless, Samsung experienced a 10.4 percent decline in its shipments in the April-June period due to the sluggish sales of the Galaxy S9 series. Sources said that if Samsung’s shipments continue to slide by 10-15 percent moving forward, Huawei will be the top player in the industry by the fourth quarter of 2019.

Of course, Huawei needs to work hard to achieve this. After all the company is withdrawing its smartphone business from the U.S. market amid restrictions imposed by the Trump administration. It will now rely on other regions including Europe, Asia, Africa and its home country, China, for its growth in the coming quarters. 

Huawei is also expected to benefit from the industry’s transition to 5G. Chinese telecom carriers are predicted to secure a leading position in the global race to build 5G networks due to their larger user base, communication infrastructure and available technologies. 

Huawei is said to be releasing its first 5G-enabled smartphone in mid-2019, according to industry sources. The launch of such a device will further shore up the company’s brand image and competitiveness because the phone will reportedly come with Huawei’s in-house developed 5G chips.